Movie Review: A Gentleman (2017)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the song “Bandook Meri Laila” at iTunes

A Gentleman delivers on its promise to be a funny, sexy action entertainer.

Strait-laced Gaurav (Sidharth Malhotra) wants nothing more from life than a nice house, a wife, kids, and a reliable car. While the wife and kids are still a work in progress, Gaurav is the proud new owner of the safest minivan on the market and a McMansion in the Miami suburbs. The dining room furnishings are from Pottery Barn and the kitchen Crate & Barrel, he proudly tells his guests.

Gaurav’s top candidate to fill the “wife” part of his dream is his peppy colleague, Kavya (Jacqueline Fernandez). She genuinely likes Gaurav, but he’s too boring for her taste. She wants a husband who suits her free-spending, fast-driving lifestyle.

While Gaurav gets advice from his married co-worker, Dikshit (Hussain Dalal), on how to appeal to Kavya’s wild side, the action shifts to Bangkok. A group of secret agents infiltrate the Chinese embassy, led by Rishi (also Malhotra), a dashing James Bond-type who’s a dead-ringer for Gaurav. This is the dynamic man Kavya has been dreaming of.

Following a botched safe-cracking attempt and subsequent motorcycle chase, Rishi and his crew — which includes his trigger-happy accomplice Yakub (Darshan Kumar) — return to headquarters to meet with their leader: The Colonel (Suniel Shetty). Rishi is tired of life as a extrajudicial assassin for Unit X, desiring instead a quiet family life in a home he can call his own — exactly the life that Gaurav has.

When his appeals to patriotism and personal loyalty don’t work, The Colonel offers to let Rishi go after one last job. Rishi and crew just need to intercept a package in Mumbai. Meanwhile, in Miami, Gaurav is chosen to deliver sensitive information in person to a client located — where else? — Mumbai!

Unlike previous films by the directing duo Raj & D.K. and their co-writer Sita Menon, A Gentleman is well-paced, allowing enough time to linger on details without ever feeling slow. The movie also establishes a sense of place, familiarizing the audience with the layout of Gaurav’s neighborhood and paying off that familiarity later on.

There are some great jokes in A Gentleman aimed at the US. Asked if she knows how to shoot, an exasperated Kavya says, “It’s America,” before cocking her gun like a pro. A laundromat owner named Jignesh (Amit Mistry) is tasked with finding someone, so he activates his spy network: the Desi Store Mafia Group, made up of the owners of Indian grocery stores and restaurants across Miami. My high school friend Ramya once lamented that there were no secrets within the local desi community, and attributing that to an organized business syndicate is pretty funny.

Malhotra and Fernandez suit this material, and not just because they are both gorgeous and fit for skimpy Miami attire. They bring energy to action scenes, heat to romantic sequences, and they share a nice rapport during lighter, humorous moments as well. It’s always a treat to watch Fernandez dance, and thankfully she gets a good soundtrack to dance to, including the Sachin-Jigar bop “Bandook Meri Laila.”


12 thoughts on “Movie Review: A Gentleman (2017)

  1. Ravenus

    I saw the movie last night and I happily concur with your review, although I did feel that in the first 20 min the pacing was a little off and the humor kinda stale and overdone. But once THAT timeline twist is revealed, the movie gets into high gear and never lets up. Sid is terrific in his part, nice to see him do suave, and he has an innate humility that keeps the part from going into smug douchebag territory a la Tom Cruise.

    I also love how the story keeps returning to the house, which symbolises Sid’s dreams of domestic bliss which he has been trying to build up with ideas from lifestyle malls and home store catalogs because he has never had a real family life to know.

    Sadly, like Jagga Jasoos, this is another cool movie that seems to be starved of an audience in India, and likely to fizzle out pronto. Cinema on a weekend night was about a quarter full.

    1. Kathy

      I totally agree about the house, Ravenus, especially in the way it provides some great visual storytelling opportunities. Sid focused so much on the “house” part of his dream, only to have it made painfully clear to him that the “someone to love” part was most important.

      As a fan of Tom Cruise the Actor (not Tom Cruise the Scientologist), I need to defend my guy! That dude can act! I think that Sid’s career is actually following a very Tom Cruise-like trajectory, quickly transitioning out of bland “handsome guy” roles into heftier parts. He’s even done sci-fi, and now action. I think Sid’s still hitting his stride as an actor, but he’s picking really interesting projects that allow him to grow. I am a fan.

      Side note: comments don’t appear immediately here because I moderate them first. šŸ™‚

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  9. Siddharth Daniel

    Saw it back in 2017, loved it. Saw it again today, loved it. It’s nothing but just a fun, innocuous action comedy which the Indian audiences couldn’t digest for some reason. Would’ve loved a sequel to it which is never going to happen šŸ™

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