Movie ‘Rowdy Rathore’: Rowdy Treatment To The Honest Cop Theme!

The movie released on 1st June when I was on a home visit in Assam. Suddenly I found almost all shows in almost all movie houses in Guwahati taken over by the movie. Some rowdy behavior indeed, I mused! Two things attracted me instantly. First, its name Rowdy Rathore is quite unusual even by Bollywood standards. Second, I found the name of Sanjay Leela  Bhansali as a producer which rather shocked me. What possibly could he be doing in a movie that sounds like a typical masala (spicy) commercial, I ventured! It must have been quite a journey for him from his celebrated classic Black (2005) to Rowdy Rathore (2012), not to speak of his other critically acclaimed movies! Maybe he wanted to take on the challenge of beating the masters of the masala art in their own game! My curiosity grew as I heard reports of the movie's remarkable success in the box office. I had to watch the movie...who knows...maybe some refreshingly different treatment awaits you! I could not make it there and so the first thing I did coming back to Mumbai was watching Rowdy Rathore

I was thoroughly disappointed! There was hardly anything refreshingly different in the film that could set it apart from a typical potboiler. Except, of course, for terrific all-round technical quality in takings, photography, sound, editing and, performances-- especially by Akshay Kumar who took full charge of the movie from the beginning to the end in a double-role action extravaganza. Directed by the onetime sensational dancing hero of the South, Prabhu Deva, the movie tended to be louder and crasser than a normal Bollywood potboiler. The comedy was monotonous as it hardly deviated from the 'comic' art of stealing and the violence was jarring as the villains kept on laughing and shrieking maniacally. The totally redundant songs did contribute nothing to the plot but only to remind you of the late eighties and nineties when you strongly felt the urge to take a break at the very hint of a song! 


The movie opened on a 'stealing' comedy with Akshay Kumar (first role of a thief of Mumbai) and his assistant looting and robbing unsuspecting people to make you roar with laughter. What still kept you on with the movie was that a sinister plot tried to come out of the comedy track again and again, and by the time it finally succeeded in stunning you it was nearly interval time. This brings us to the main plot. 


Once upon a time there lived a dictator in a Bihar town where he and his goons looted, maimed, tortured, raped and killed people at will anytime. Even the wives of the cops there were not safe from those marauders. In came Vikram Rathore (Akshay Kumar in the punch action role), an outright and honest cop posted in that town. From the very arrival he started his mission of bashing, maiming and killing the goons with the euphoric support of the local people. Naturally, the goons wanted to kill the honest cop and they did nearly kill him, but Rathore with a bullet in his brains had to survive to shift the action to Mumbai for the last brave fight. As the Rowdy thief was very much around there in Mumbai, Rathore finally died so that the former could accomplish the mission along with his beautiful partner, Sonakshi Sinha, out there in the Bihar town. Nobody knew for sure if he got an appointment from the police authorities for the job! 


How then Rowdy Rathore managed to become the fourth biggest Bollywood grosser of all time and the biggest hit of 2012? There are several crucial factors:

  • Rowdy Rathore is a remake of a successful Telegu (a language of Southern India) blockbuster (2006).
  • It imbibed elements from three hugely successful Bollywood films, Ready, Dabangg and Singham. From Ready it took the vibrant rhythm of song ‘Dhinka Chika’ to its ‘Chinta ta ta Chita Chita’! From Dabangg it got the style and gait of a corrupt cop for its small-time thief turned honest cop! And from Singham it accumulated the intensity of a fighting honest super cop—actor Anant Jog playing the corrupt Minister in both films! Though terribly overdone in each element mass attention has been won. Who cares for lack of cohesion or logic?
  • The movie stages a comeback for Akshay Kumar as the dashing action hero of yore.
  • Strong nostalgia for reemergence of the action genre and classic formula films.
  • And maybe the magic of Prabhu Deva after his first Bollywood success Wanted.

My thoughts persist with Bhansali though. Okay, he has proved himself as a successful producer of potboilers and made much more money than directing classics. But what is next? Talks of a prequel to Rowdy Rathore are already doing the rounds!


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