Instead of starting with the good, let’s do it the other way around. Start with what’s wrong with Sabir Khan’s new directorial.
With practically no hype around it and viable but unimpressive cinema like Kambakkht Ishq (2009), Heropanti (2014) and Baaghi (2016) behind him, most would skip watching Sabir’s Abhimanyu-Shilpa Shetty starrer. That would probably explain its disastrous opening at the box-office.
With a running time of over 2 hrs 30 mins, it is also inordinately stretched and stumbles in logic. So that even a film that sets out to be interestingly layered, makes you restless.
Which brings us to the writing. The trio of Sabir Khan, Venu Sriram and Sanamjit Singh Talwar, write in so many turns at various levels that perhaps an OTT release would’ve worked better. Take for instance the perky first-sight proposal that Natasha (Shirley Setia) springs on Adi (Abhimanyu Dassani). The fact that it doesn’t take the usual collegian route of a dare or taunt game with friends is a pleasant departure. Certain moments and dialogues have freshness and humour. Like the maid sequence which Dassani does with a Sanjay Dutt swagger. There’s wit even in the way the villain has a patent act and dialogue before training his gun on a victim. They are mass variety lines but pass when there are no pretensions of being anything else.
Adi is the late-rising family nikamma, fortunate to have older brother Raman (Samir Soni) and a chacha (Sachin Khedekar) take turns at parenting him.
Pitted opposite him is his nemesis – Avni (Shilpa Shetty), the kadak bhabhi. Though Sabir has her doing the housewifely routine, Avni is the surprise package for Adi. Segueing from light family froth and romance to a deeper confrontation with local MLA aspirant Vikramjit Bisht (Abhimanyu Singh), there’s plenty of action and an emotional bond that turns Adi into Avni’s Hanuman-like protector.
But make no mistake. This is a completely unabashed commercial with Adi as a one-man army and set action pieces in the rain, in the RTO compound and in Bisht’s mansion.
The two Abhimanyus, Adi (Dassani) and Bisht (Singh) have screen presence. As Adi, Abhimanyu Dassani gets to do it all – loaf, crib, take money off family, dance, romance and fight. He is an actor to keep tabs on.
Shilpa Shetty is the eternally starched Avni, a strict RTO who stands up to much more than the go-home-and-cook jibe from her senior. In a dance move or two, there are traces of the faces she used to make as a heroine but with gorgeous sarees, a pencil-slim body and a role that demands dignity, she gracefully carries it off.
But as an old style commercial film, all women must cook and it gets tacky with a nameplate that reads ‘RTO Officer’ which would read as ‘Regional Transport Office Officer’. Adi who’s shown as blessed with a sharp memory and deduction skills (like locating Natasha) and Avni, a super woman, don’t even smell a rat when Bisht befriends her husband Raman. The twist in Avni’s story is also unconvincing as it raises more questions than answers.
The disastrous opening day collections are an indication that it’s time to wrap up and put away old-style cinema.
Watch Nikamma Trailer: