Bollywood Film Review “A Gentleman”



First, the Recap:

Ever want to be someone else? You know, live a life of high affluence perhaps, maybe be a major bad@## and take on entire armies by yourself, or even achieve a world-changing accomplishment that forever cements you in the annals of history. Or maybe you’re like Gaurav (Sidharth Malhotra), a simple, very safe man who just wants to settle down in a posh Miami neighborhood, in his newly purchased house, with his beautiful girlfriend Kavya (Jacqueline Fernandez) as, ideally, his wife, a minivan, and steady, well-paying job. Yes, life is good. However, Kavya has hesitations, as she is ultimately looking for someone with a little more pizazz–a man of action, intrigue, and overall moxie. As such, her frustration builds with Gaurav.

Then enter the world of Rishi (also Malhotra), a member of a super secret spy organization known as Unit X, lead by the ambitious Colonel Vijay Saxena (Sunil Shetty) and his highly volatile right hand man and recruit trainer Yakub (Darshan Kumar). Running afoul of these two hardened men and wanting to escape the dangerous life being a spy has brought, Rishi chooses to abscond against their will to Mumbai where a mistaken identity escapade begins involving an unawares Gaurav, who’s there on business. Caught in the middle and vying to stay alive while also trying to protect Kavya, it becomes suddenly apparent that perhaps two men from opposite sides of life’s layout might not actually be as different as everyone believes.

Next, my Mind:

While the notion of mistaken identity is nothing new to the world of mainstream film, leave it up to the industry known as Bollywood to bring it out in such a wonderfully entertaining, action-filled, comedic style that makes you feel like you’re experiencing it all for the first time. Well paced, beautifully shot, and filled with characters you may have “seen before” but you don’t care because it’s all just so much fun, award-winning director duo Raj & D.K. (aka: Raj Nidimoru and Krisha D.K.) assuredly deliver a full-on piece of Bollywood magic. The slick visuals and character personas, well-choreographed action and fight sequences, the always-present, dare-you-not-to-start moving-your-body music and dance numbers, it all blends together to bring exactly what you expect, which isn’t a bad thing.  Honestly, to this reviewer, we’re not looking for super depth of story development here or really depth of anything.  This film works because it’s the kind of straightforward, unassuming material that allows you to sit back, grab the popcorn, and enjoy big stars, fancy cars, exotic locales, and just feeling good when you walk out of the theater, completely satisfied you were delightfully amused. Not meant to be Shakespeare, folks.

Malhotra has always been on of my favorite actors since first experiencing him in 2016’s fantastic character drama “Kapoor & Sons”, and here, he just gets a chance to utilize his suave looks and “everyman” demeanor to full effect as Gaurav, a man who’s more than happy to be under the radar, even if a little too safe at times, working a normal job he loves, and dreaming about having his home, a wife, and 2.5 kids. Malhotra’s execution of this character is a total riot, and he infuses Gaurav with that awkwardness that makes him seem so human and fallible.  On the flip side is Rishi, an elite spy with some seriously dangerous skills who often leaps before he looks and is willing to risk it all for the accomplishment of the mission. However, seeing his ultimate weariness at doing said work causes him to want out, which puts him square in the crosshairs of his now former boss and the unsettlingly unsettled Yakub. Malhotra’s action chops and general bad@$$-ery come out in full force, and he does it quite convincingly, which makes the narrative’s primary reveal about him that much more fun and well-enacted throughout by the actor.

Now we add in the always hilariously effervescent and playfully sassy Fernandez as Kavya, a woman incredibly desperate to have her man Gaurav not be such an overt square, even to the point she’s on the verge of calling it quits with him. Yet, seeing her longsuffering with his calmly protective tendencies and sheltered personality is a riot to witness, as her growing exasperation with him boils over. Of course, her entire ideas change when suddenly the man she’s always longed for shows up in Rishi, and the reaction she ahs upon realizing exactly what’s what once it becomes clear to her is also a total stitch, and Fernandez draws you in with that amazing smile and personality like few others can when playing this style of character. Supporting turns are provided with solid results by Shetty as the no-nonsense Colonel Saxena, whose agendas are suspicious from the start, Kumar as Yakub, the man now wanting Rishi dead, along with Hussain Dalal as Gaurav’s hapless friend Dixit who gets more than he bargains for–and loves it, plus Amit Mistry, Rajit Kapoor, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Zachary Coffin, and others.

In total, “A Gentleman” is a perfect excuse to not think, but just enjoy the off-kilter action/dramedy it is, relishing the fact it’s a fine example of what Bollywood does best–please, divert, charm, engross, and occupy. Even when it’s not wholly original, it’s a darn good time.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

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