Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Rowdy Rathore: South Indian remix
When Akshay Kumar fashions himself a sudarshan chakra (the ultimate weapon of destructive in Indian mythology) from a broken bamboo stick and some construction equipment and uses it to slay 20 men with axes and knives, you know “Rowdy Rathore” isn’t aiming for realistic cinema.
Once you reconcile yourself to that and realise that director Prabhu Deva is channeling his inner Rajnikanth, you can sit back and enjoy the Ray-Bans, nubile dancers and a pretty liberal use of cinematic liberties.
The film is a remake of the Telugu hit “Vikramarkudu“, and draws on many of the elements that work for movies of this genre. So there is a guest appearance by Prabhu Deva, gyrating to a song, loud and garish costumes and dialogue and action that is bound to appeal to mass audiences.
Akshay Kumar plays a double role — that of small-time crook Shiva and the seemingly invincible police officer Vikram Rathore. There is of course, the very familiar case of mistaken identities, and Shiva is forced to deal with a gang of axe-toting hooligans hunting for Rathore.
Prabhu Deva channels the very successful South Indian formula of over-the-top emotions, skin show, brutal action, fake blood and the battle of good versus evil. Akshay Kumar doesn’t have the panache of a Salman Khan or the style of a Rajnikanth, but he manages to pull off the quirkiness quite well.
Sonakshi Sinha’s waist gets more screen time than her face, but that is just as well, given that she can’t muster up too many expressions.
“Rowdy Rathore” is a hark back to the 1980s. If you enjoy cinema of that time and are an Akshay Kumar fan, give this one a chance.