(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)
There’s a scene in Siddharth Anand’s “Bang Bang!” when Katrina Kaif as a woman in danger worries that Hrithik Roshan’s pistol, cradled in her worried hands, isn’t big enough to do the trick. Roshan produces a gigantic gun from just off camera and shows it to her. “In shock?” he asks. You bet. It’s just what she’s been hoping for.
The film is a remake of the Tom Cruise action comedy “Knight and Day”, a fun caper about an unlikely couple on the run from the U.S. Secret Service. In the Bollywood version, the single-line plot gets expanded to include all the baubles and ornaments that India’s mainstream cinema can’t seem to do without. Patriotism, brotherly love, romance, exotic locales, cut-cut-cut shots, pounding techno music, sexism? You name it and they are all there, larding up this film to the 160-minute mark.
Hrithik Roshan’s character Rajveer is the suave and mysterious burglar who claims to have stolen the Koh-i-Noor diamond. He occupies centre stage, almost saving the film with his easy-going screen presence. He is the all-conquering, can-do-no-wrong hero. He kills people without getting caught, he extracts bullets from his body as one might extract a thorn, and delivers even the most chauvinistic lines with such panache that co-star Katrina Kaif (Harleen) can do nothing but gaze at him in adoration.
But wait! Rajveer also might be mentally unstable, all too prone to hitting people and fond of long gropes on the beach. His twinkling, preternaturally green eyes act as a charming lubricant against the friction of violence, but he can’t quite pull off the Cary Grant routine.
Kaif meanwhile is portrayed as the antithesis of Roshan’s character. He is the saviour, she is the one that needs saving. He has all the answers, she’s has all the (dumb) questions. (She constantly asks him “tum kaun ho”, even after he has told her).