WAR (2019)

  • Release Date: 02/10/2019
  • Cast: Hritik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, Vani Kapoor, Ashutosh Rana
  • Director: Siddharth Anand

An Indian agent, Kabir (Hritik Roshan) is taking down high profile individuals for no visible reason. He was (as is customary) the very best agent that the country had at its disposal and with him turning rouge, the agency has no clues on how to nail him. In walks Tiger Shroff as Khalid (from the epiglottis), the son of a traitor who is trying hard to make a mark for himself in the forces to bring some glory to his mother and clean up his own name. Khalid was Kabir’s prodigy and actually loves the man. But for him, the country comes before the guru and so he takes it upon himself to nab and nail Kabir. As he sets out to do so, we get a flurry of flashbacks from different character’s perspective explaining the bromance between Khalid and Kabir, the reasons why Kabir went rogue, Kabir’s romance with the hot and sultry Vani Kapoor, etc… etc… etc… ultimately culminating in the two hot-bods facing off against each other.

There aren’t too many positives in this mess of a film but let’s first address the few it has before the landslide of negatives comes tumbling down. Hritik Roshan is easily the biggest draw of this film. Siddharth Anand sure knows how best to shoot and portray the man and also the kind of mannerism that will work best for him and he leaves no stones unturned to exploit every angle of his dashing good looks. There are innumerable shots of Hritik walking in slow motion towards the screen in his rugged good looks that would make even the most disinterested viewer interested. The background score adds to the heightened euphoria. I also felt that Hritik did remarkably well with whatever little he had at his disposal to work with. He is a good actor and his charisma and screen presence makes uninspiring material somewhat watchable. That was exactly the case here.

Tiger Shroff is improving in his game and it is evident here. He is the next best thing about the film. It can easily be noticed that he is trying to turn in a sincere performance and he tries hard enough to make it work. He holds his own in the emotional scenes and is electric in the action sequences. There is an action sequence at the beginning that introduces his character and this sequence is easily the best hand-to-hand fight of the whole film. I wished there were more like this one but that is not the case. The director sadly trades the real thing for gigantic set pieces that not only feel unnecessary but look caricature-ish. Vani Kapoor is the third best thing about the film. It cannot be denied that she devours the screen in every sequence that she is a part of. She is not there for too long though.

One has to agree that War is a well-shot film and it has some of the very best in locales that the world has to offer. The fact that the story moves through different topographies allows the cinematographer (Benjamin Jasper) to have his way with different color palettes that adds to the charm of the images. The fact that Jasper has some of the most good looking men and women to adorn those locales with also doesn’t hurt his cause.

Having said all that, the film fails on all other counts.

We are made to believe that Khalid is Kabir’s prodigy but there is nothing in the film that gives testimony to that. Kabir and Khalid are together for all of two missions and we are to accept that in these two missions Kabir becomes Khalid’s godfather. Sorry, I can’t fathom that going by what I saw. Also, Kabir doesn’t teach him anything. He came pre-programmed.

The film brings a distastefully crappy representation of how Indian espionage works. We have had some pretty interesting and somewhat reliable representation of the subject in Bollywood over the last few years and it is time that mainstream filmmakers rose above the clichés associated with the genre. In War, Siddharth Anand takes the matter to a whole new level of impossibility showing how less he cares about the setting and story that the film sets out to tell.

I am pretty sure, covert agents don’t celebrate “Holi” with a splash on picturesque location let alone swinging to “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” and having extras brought in to match their every move in costumes. Having disco lights light up the location is probably rubbing salt on the injury. The set-up from which Kabir and his team work out is more of a holiday resort and less of an Army outpost. Again, we are not sure if they are part of a regular army unit or some special intelligence group. By this point, I stopped caring and asking basic questions.

Every negative character in the film is a cheap and browed version of some villain somewhere who might have done a good job. One doesn’t even need to keep a tab on the bad guys as they are there just to be beaten by our heroes. Even the rapist piano teacher from Haunted is there and we are made to believe that he is a space scientist and a Padma Shree Award Winner. It might have worked had the film been about a Hritik Vs Tiger rivalry but that is also not the case as most of the film has them on the same side.   

The film also suffers from something that I have come to call hyperactive editing. Some of the action sequences are marred by the insanely fast cuts and one cannot actually understand what is happening on screen. It might be a ploy to hide the stand-ins for the actual stars but they should have found a way to work around it without going for this cheap trick. Good action should be clean action that stays just long enough on screen for the viewer to understand what actually is happening and enjoy it.

I could go on and on about the film but it wouldn’t matter as it is made with so little heed to realism and logic that it is insulting to even nit-pick it. Suffice is to say that War is a good concept and would have made for a great film had it been made with seriousness and a semblance of logic. It needed a few more re-writes to iron out some inherent flaws of the basic plot. Hritik and Tiger try their best to make a film out of this and they are atleast able to keep you interested sparingly. The film is pretty to look at and that might be an added advantage for many. But in the end, it ends up being just another cash grab with no character of its own or even a decent story to tell. I am not surprised that War turned out the way it did.  

Rating: 2/5 (2 out of 5 Stars)

 

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