Tag Archives: Rohit Roy

Movie Review: Kaabil (2017)

kaabil0.5 Stars (out of 4)

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Kaabil (“Capable“) is stupid and gross. The movie’s biggest problem is that Yami Gautam’s character exists solely to be raped, an act which serves as a catalyst to transform Hrithik Roshan’s character into an avenging hero.

Roshan plays Rohan, a blind voice actor. One of his producers wonders how Rohan is able to deliver his dialogue in sync with the cartoon characters he voices when he can’t see the footage, but the question is offered as praise rather than a legitimate plot concern writer Vijay Kumar Mishra and director Sanjay Gupta simply ignore.

Gupta and Mishra also elect not to explain what preexisting relationship Rohan has with Amit (Rohit Roy) — a politician’s sleazy brother — and his toady, Wasim (Sahidur Rahaman). Events of the second half of the film make no sense unless Rohan has extensive background information about the two men and their families, which we’re not given any reason to believe he would have. It would also go a long way to explain why Amit and Wasim terrorize Rohan and his new wife, Supriya (Gautam), in the first place.

Most of the film’s first half is the establishment of Rohan’s romantic relationship with Supriya, with whom he’s setup by a mutual acquaintance based on the couple’s mutual blindness. They’re both kind people, but Supriya emphasizes how much she values her job and her independence, and says she is loath to sacrifice either for marriage. If only she’d stuck to her guns.

Instead, Supriya marries Rohan, with whom she enjoys a brief period of happiness before Amit and Wasim rape her because of some unexplained animosity toward Rohan. Throughout her ordeal, the movie gives no consideration to Supriya’s feelings, focusing instead on how her assault affects Rohan. She tells her husband, “Now I am not the same person for you.” Rohan doesn’t contradict her, his silence confirming her worst fears. He later claims he needed time to process what happened. You’d almost think he was the one who’d been raped.

Not long after Supriya’s assault, director Gupta inserts an item number into the film. The audience is supposed to pivot from being disgusted by a rape to now being titillated by closeups of Urvashi Rautela’s thighs and cleavage while Amit sings. It’s repulsive.

Rohan’s revenge is built on a number of conveniences, including his aforementioned intimate knowledge of Amit’s and Wasim’s families derived from who knows where. Rohan is also a master of hiding in the shadows, which is pretty amazing considering that he’s blind! He’s been blind since birth, so he’s never so much as seen a shadow, let alone learned how to use them to conceal his whereabouts.

Kaabil is so dumb that it would be tempting to laugh it off, were it not guilty of creating a confident female character just for the purposes of turning her into a plot device. It’s a textbook example of the offensive “Women in Refrigerators” trope, explained brilliantly in the video below:


Movie Review: Boss (2013)

Boss2 Stars (out of 4)

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Boss has some great individual elements that could make up either a great action comedy or a serious revenge thriller, but combining them together in the same movie doesn’t work.

The tone of the film changes without a moment’s notice, and it’s too much to ask the audience to follow along. One minute, we’re expected to be horrified by violence; the next minute, we’re supposed to laugh at it. Lighthearted scenes are followed by a brother threatening to slap his sister unless she locks herself in her room until he says she can come out. Boss never settles on what kind of movie it is.

The story structure is also odd. The film begins with a flashback to a teenage boy saving the life of the mafia don Big Boss (Danny Denzongpa). The don takes the boy under his wing, christening him Boss. Since this is obviously Akshay Kumar’s character as a teen, we expect to then see the man Boss has grown into.

Instead, the story switches to Boss’s father, Satyakant (Mithun Chakraborty), fifteen years later, still lamenting that his eldest son (known to him as Surya) is a criminal. Satyakant sends his younger son, Shiv (Shiv Pandit), to Delhi where the young man gets into trouble defending his lady-love, Ankita (Aditi Rao Hydari), from a creepy politician’s son, Vishal (Aakash Dabhade). The lovers star in a romantic music video on a yacht before Ankita’s homicidal cop brother, Ayushman (Ronit Roy), arrests Shiv.

Finally, thirty minutes into the movie, Satyakant vows to swallow his pride and ask Surya/Boss to save Shiv. When Boss is introduced, on-screen titles read: “Akshay Kumar in and as Boss.” After a funny, five-minute-long fight scene, the opening credits roll. The movie is already a quarter of the way over!

As a comedy, Boss is pretty entertaining. There are some clever scenes, such as Boss trying to surreptitiously beat up some assassins without his father noticing. There’s a humorous recurring bit involving Boss’ “portable rocking chair,” created when his henchman form a human-pyramid-style throne and sway in unison.

As a revenge thriller, Boss is also effective. Chakraborty is strong as the patriarch who chooses his principles over his troubled son. For my money, Roy is the scariest villain in Bollywood. The cold expression in his eyes after Ayushman tosses Satyakant down a flight of stairs is chilling. And nothing beats his method for quieting a group of rowdy grade schoolers: give them a gun and urge them to play Russian roulette.

But these elements belong in different movies. There’s no way to successfully integrate them. Emotional scenes are interrupted by comic relief characters, and again, it’s hard to discern how director Anthony D’Souza expects the audience to feel about violence. It’s funny when Boss breaks a coconut on someone’s head, but not so funny when he impales a sawblade in someone’s chest.

Boss — which is all about relationships between men — portrays women unfavorably. The visual that accompanies Shiv praising Ankita’s eyes, voice, and “mind-blowing attitude” is Aditi Rao Hydari emerging from a pool wearing a bikini. Party scenes feature white women in skimpy outfits getting drunk, though item girl Sonakshi Sinha gets to dance in a modest cocktail dress and abstain from alcohol.

For good measure, Ayushman uses his girlfriend to frame Shiv for rape. Frame him for any other crime, but not rape. Not in a movie that is primarily a comedy.

There’s a lot to like in Boss, enough so that it’s never boring. It just should’ve been two separate movies.


Movie Review: Udaan (2010)

4 Stars (out of 4)

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A character in Udaan (“Flight”) says that fathers always want their sons to grow into men just like themselves. When the father is an abusive alcoholic, he’d better hope his wish doesn’t come true. Someday, his son will be bigger and stronger than him.

The father in Udaan (played menacingly by Ronit Roy) is about as mean as a character can be without veering into cackling super-villain territory. He doesn’t have any grand evil plan; he’s just convinced that he’s right and that everyone should obey him. He forces his children to call him “Sir,” correcting them when they accidentally call him “Papa.”

Udaan‘s protagonist is Sir’s 17-year-old son, Rohan (Rajat Barmecha). He’s a smart kid and a gifted writer, but a poor student. He takes reckless chances despite knowing the consequences. He’s expelled from boarding school when he and three friends sneak off campus to watch dirty movies. His friends return to their wealthy families in Mumbai, while Rohan returns to the industrial town Jamshedpur and the father he hasn’t seen in the eight years since Rohan’s mother’s death.

Rohan finds a six-year-old boy living in his childhood bedroom, the product of a second marriage that his father said “didn’t work out” and that he didn’t bother to tell Rohan about. The half-brother, Arjun (the impossibly cute Aayan Boradia), already mimics their father’s verbal abuse but casually mentions that Sir hits him sometimes.

Sir refuses to entertain the possibility of Rohan becoming a professional writer and puts his eldest son to work in the factory he owns. Rohan attends engineering college in the afternoon, with the expectation that he will one day inherit the factory. At night, Rohan acts out, taking the family car on joyrides to drink and smoke at a local bar.

Rohan is shaken from his drudgery when Arjun winds up in the hospital. Sir claims the boy fell down the stairs, but Rohan suspects child abuse. Sir leaves town for a few days, giving the brothers time to bond. Rohan entertains Arjun and other people in the hospital ward with his original stories until his father returns, once again crushing his Rohan’s chances for happiness.

Udaan is the rare movie that actually justifies a runtime of more than two hours. The plot unfolds at a pace appropriate for its teen protagonist. He’s in an impossible situation: he can’t live his own life under his father’s rule, but he has no adult to turn to for guidance. His uncle, while compassionate, is himself subject to Sir’s abuse. When I wanted to scream, “Just run away!” I had to remind myself that Rohan is supposed to be a real teenager, not some cinematic creation wise beyond his years.

The movie also strives for realism in the relationship between father and son. A lesser movie would aim for a sentimental conclusion espousing the belief that there’s good inside everyone. Sir is a jerk, and Rohan himself is far from perfect. The movie is more about protecting what you love, be it a dream or a vulnerable sibling. Udaan isn’t about redemption. It’s about self-respect.