Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
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.
The last Hindi film I watched in a theatre was Nagesh Kukunoor’s “Tasveer”, an improbable tale about a man who has ‘photographic visions’ and can revisit the past. Then Bollywood took a break and I hoped it would serve the industry well.