After unleashing the atrocity called Rowdy Rathore (a remake of the Telugu superhit Vikramarkudu) more than 2 years ago, Akshay Kumar and ‘Producer’ Sanjay Leela Bhansali reunite for Gabbar Is Back – a remake of the Tamil movie Ramanna directed by A.R Murugadoss and starring Vijaykanth.

Aditya (Akshay Kumar) a college professor kidnaps and kills corrupt Government officials under the pseudo name ‘Gabbar’. This soon pits him against an old enemy Digvijay Patil (Suman Talwar) and has an honest constable Sadhuram (Sunil Grover) and a CBI officer (Jaideep Ahlawat) hot on his trail.

The theme of corruption is relevant even today, especially in our country. Perhaps that’s why Gabbar Is Back despite being a remake of a decade old film is relevant even now. Countless Bollywood films have depicted the theme of corruption. But the manner in which this film tackles the subject makes it stand out from other films of its ilk, however farfetched it may be. And a major credit of this must go to A. R Murugadoss who had originally penned this script.

The film proposes the idea of vigilante justice and offers some implausible solutions to real life issues. But it is these things, that strike a chord with the audiences and so does this film in many places. The scene in which Akshay Kumar exposes the malpractices of the medical sector is bound to win applause from all, especially those who might have faced a similar experience. It is a smart idea to use the brand of Hindi cinema’s most iconic villain for a film that deals with the theme of corruption. Rajat Arora’s dialogues are much better than some of his recent works including the unintentionally hilarious Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara. Some of the most iconic dialogues of Gabbar Singh are used well, especially the one which Akshay Kumar delivers in the final scene of the film.

Ideally, the film could have been a much better masala film with the right mix of entertainment and social consciousness. But many half-baked characters and situations prevent it from becoming so. Apart from Akshay and Sunil Grover’s character, the rest of them are underdeveloped due to which they fail to make an impact. Shruti Hassan and Suman Talwar’s characters become the biggest casualty of this.The final scene in which Akshay Kumar and Suman Talwar argue about who is a bigger brand is unintentionally hilarious to say the least. And like many recent Hindi films, the villain comes across as a hammy caricature and that’s why the final confrontation between him and Akshay Kumar fails badly.

Director Krish has made some great films in Telugu such as Vedam and is known for having moments and characters in his films which audiences can relate to and empathise with. That’s why it surprising to see the film stuffed with such half-baked moments and characters. In a crucial moment of the film, Akshay Kumar realises that his next victim is the father of one of his students and he has to take the tough decision of conveying it to the son. But the scene is done away with in such haste that it makes a very poor impact. Also the final scene in which Akshay Kumar comes and conveniently surrenders himself to the police has to be seen to be believed. The film is also stuffed with some unwanted songs which are not entirely unbearable, but are unnecessary.

Gabbar-is-Back-Shruti-Hassan-with-Akshay-Kumar-ImagesShruthi Hassan continues to be an eye candy whose acting skills have not evolved ever since she made her debut with the awful movie Luck. Moreover, an indifferent role and her constant references to Google make her appear more annoying. Sunil Grover shines in a meaty role and deserves to be seen in more movies. Suman Talwar who has acted in several South movies is a fine actor, but due to a poorly developed role fails to make an impact. Jaideep Ahlawat and the rest of the supporting actors are pretty average. And after Aatma, Ahlawat delivering dialogues in English again is unintentionally funny.

The film’s biggest strength is undoubtedly Akshay Kumar. Here is an actor, who has the unique ability to deliver implausible dialogues and enact such scenes with deadpan precision that it is hard not to warm up him. His strong screen persona only makes things better. In this film, he is suitably restrained as the common man masquerading as an anonymous vigilante. With Baby and now Gabbar Is Back, it seems like the actor is making a fresh start with his subtle and understated acts as compared to his earlier self which was usually loud and theatrical. One hopes he continues with this form.

Despite its flaws, Gabbar Is Back is reasonably entertaining and much better than most of the recent big budget Bollywood films, especially Singham Returns and other similarly themed films that deal with corruption.