Boss is Hugely Enjoyable Masala Dossier

Starring:  Akshay Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty, Ronit Roy,Shiv Pandit, Aditi RaoHydari,Danny Denzongpa

Directed by: Anthony d’Souza

Movie Review: The second-half  of this breakneck-speed blues-chaser of a movie opens with a long chase sequence through the narrow gallis of a dusty small-town in North India where we last  saw Akshay Kumar having a ball in Rowdy Rathod and Khiladi 786.

Somehow in those films,Akshay ended up having more fun that we did.This time our enjoyment-quotient matches Akshay’s step-by-step scene-by-scene, frame-by-frame chuckle for chuckle.

Boss Movie Still

Boss is as much fun to watch as it must have been to shoot. Almost every sequence is an ‘item’.And for once the word ‘item’ is not a gaali. Director Tony D’Souza who failed so miserably in shooting  an undersea adventure thriller in Blue, here rises out of the deep to deliver a full-blast rabble-rouser that verifies what Vidya Balan recently said about the movies. They are all about three things….entertainment,entertainment,entertainment.

To that we can add another golden rule of honest mainstream filmmaking: kinetic energy. Every moment in Boss is a celebration of cinematic conventions derived from decades of Bollywood entertainment. Family-ties torn asunder by villainous machinations, brothers growing up with different values, and a parent who frowns at the outlawed son’s ill-gotten wealth power.

Damn, Mithun  Chakraborty as Akshay’s disapproving father could be Nirupa Roy inDeewaar. But I doubt Amitabh Bachchan’s character would see the humour in the violence the way Akshay does. He stops a bone-breaking binge for a titter and then goes right back  to thrashing his enemies.

Movie Still

Then there is the deliciously subverted morality of la-la-land.A law-maker who breaks every law of the land, and an anti-social hero who could have ended up being boringly messianic. But just as the character seems to take itself too seriously AkshayKumar brings him back a thumping thud, the kind that creates a crater in the ground.

Akshay, God bless his innate sense of joie de vivre underlined by a distant demeanour of unspoken tragedy that shows up in welters of wistfulness, imparts  to the old-as-the-hills heroism a sense of freshly-found humour. A sense of sameness had crept into Akshay’s recent  serio-comic outings. In Boss he bites succinctly into his juicy role, creating a kind of precarious  balance into a part that blessedly careens more towards self-parody than self-glorification.

And thank God for a formidable adversary! That brilliant actor Ronit Roy as Akshay’s main opponent a khaki-clad brute named Ayushman Thakur, brings to his role a chilling  propensity to turn the colour khaki into a black display of uniformed anarchy. Ronit’s introductory sequence where he ritualistically murders a cluster of criminals sets the tone for Tony D’Souza’s narration.

You are here to have fun. But don’t take these characters too lightly.They mean serious business.

Shiv Pandit as Akshay’s sibling displays a sincere screen presence. This newcomer’s best sequence has Akshay comment, “That’s the problem with you newcomers. You need to be shown how to do everything.”

Well, well.

Sonakshi Sinha looking like a full-on heroine, shows up twice , once jiving to a zingy Yo Ho Honey Singh number and finally at the end  to pay Sridevi an unexpected compliment.

Akshay kumar and Sonakshi Sinha

Sonakshi has no problem fitting comfortably in the screenplay.This is the kind of film that easily absorbs awkward moments into the larger picture. Wisely, this athletic spindly remake of the Malyalam blockbuster Pokkiri Raja doesn’t blindly borrow scenes from the original . Taking the original material writer Sajid-Farhad have completely reconstructed the material bringing a sense of surging excitement and great fun to the proceedings.The dialogues are bombastic but not repeatedly so.

The elaborate action sequences  devised and executed by Anal Arasu are the backbone of the robust narration. Every action sequence is done with virile innovative enthusiasm , thrilling and rugged but never oblivious to  the need to lend laughter to the bloodshed.Hence when Akshay fights a bunch of boorish goons in the first of the many cleverly-executed stunt sequences, out come huge music speakers and three chorus dancers to lend his fisticuffs a  rhythmic accompaniment.

We always knew music was never very far off from the soul of Hindi cinema. Bossshows us how and why.  Director Tony d’Souza shows a remarkable flair for blending burlesque with violence. Many of the action sequences are  over-the-top and yet saved in the nick of time by Akshay’s comic timing from toppling over into an over-done kitschy mess.

The film’s director Tony D’Souza made Blue one of the biggest flops of Akshay Kumar’s career.Akshay nonetheless encouraged Tony to take another shot at filmmaking. So here he is.

The miracle of creating a masala film that doesn’t take itself too serious or the audience  too lightly is here achieved with a credible quotient of conviviality and a commitment  to preserving  the momentum of  the narration . Apart from a couple of loosely-designed scenes(one sequence has the formidable Danny Denzongpastanding around doing nothing, something that this actor is not comfortable doing) and some sidekick characters who are annoyingly intrusive I found myself  completely entertained by the film’s light-weight tone.

This is a fast-paced, zany, full-on masala fare.There is a tempting swagger to Akshay’s performance matched by the narration’s tidal tempo. Irresistible energy and endearing gusto underline the show’s voracious appetite for a comic kill.

Ekdum fit hai, Boss!

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Subhash K. Jha(born 2 Nov 1959) is a Patna-based veteran Indian film critic, journalist, editor, film trade analyst and author of The Essential Guide to Bollywood. He writes for over 45 papers and websites including SKJBollywoodnews.com.

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