The posters of Akira beckoned me with a teeny bit of curiosity. The new toned version of a sullen looking Sonakshi Sinha plastered across the screen made the lack of the usual song and dance male starlet counterpart even more conspicuous. It made me wonder if Sonaskhi’s recently self-imposed sabbatical (or perhaps,
lack of offers) indicated a year of rigor for a physical and personality transformation. And so I stepped into the movie hall, armed with my bag of popcorn for company and some trepidation. The popcorn did not disappoint, BUT not surprisingly, the movie did.
Akira means graceful strength. And you get why the name was appropriately picked at birth for a girl who would continue to fight her way through life with the grace of a martial arts exp ert. It’s the story of a female protagonist with a visionary father (played by Atul Kulkarni) who trained his daughter at a young age in martial arts to fight the evil in the world, after being a witness to an acid attack. Of course, the unjust system in India does not respect women who fight back, so she is thrown into a remand home to pay for her sins. She magically transforms in three years from a school going girl to a sullen looking adult (curtains up for Sonakshi Sinha) who is brought to big bad Mumbai for a fresh start. Once a rebel, always a rebel; Sonakshi Sinha sets off about correcting all wrongs – kicking ass of the cafeteria bullies, protesting and marching against misbehaving police officials and so on. On the other side, a parallel plot evolves and in comes ACP Rane (the most brilliant performance of the movie by none other than Anurag Kashyap), a corrupt police officer who is the biggest bully of them all, who kills people for money and is basically the devil re-incarnated. The two cross paths and the rest is …well a long two hours of action packed drama…or not!
Don’t get me wrong, Sonakshi tries. She has finally shown some true acting capability, limited though it might be. She has one consistent expression through the movie, the hell-hath no fury like a woman-scorned anger of a wronged woman. She fights reluctantly but fights well, and uses fists and kicks more than she uses words, which is probably a good thing. However, that is just not enough to hold together a plot that starts with the right idea but then does not know where to go. The first half of the movie is bearable, while the second half is just a whole bunch of long-winded scenes, atrocious editing, amateurish direction and pointless twists.
Director AR Murugadoss tries to put Akira into all the tricky situations that her male counterparts usually face, and makes a complete mess of an action movie that plays out like a family drama. He is unable to add any depth to a plot that had potential, but is unfortunately dry and dull. The philosophy of the movie is simple: a female warrior
protagonist cannot go scot-free. She must suffer, else how will the audience flock in?
The saving grace of the movie is Anurag Kashyap, who brings his behind the scenes genius to the front of the lens this time. He is the unheralded star of the movie. I would not want to cross paths with ACP Rane! Supported by an apt background score, he delivers to the role of a corrupt evil cop plotting destruction. While he is not a convincing Marathi police officer, he is a villain to the core. And is definitely the paisa-wasool factor of the movie.
Should you watch Akira? Probably if you have nothing better to do on the Eid weekend.
By PRIYAM MAHAJAN KHAN