Bang Bang! (2014)
Part espionage thriller, part revenge drama, and part romantic comedy, Bang Bang! is the official Fox Star Studios Bollywood re-make of Knight and Day (2010), the mediocre Hollywood action/ adventure starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. Directed by Siddharth Anand, Salaam Namaste (2005), Bang Bang! re-teams the industry’s prettiest actors, Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif — who enchanted us with their chemistry in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) — for this high-adrenaline feature. After the film’s first trailer became the most watched teaser/ trailer within Indian cinema — accomplished in its first 24 hours online — anticipation for the picture grew, and with a solid promise of amazing stunts and exotic locations, the recipe for style over substance entertainment was firmly set in place.
Katrina Kaif plays Harleen Sahani, a simple bank receptionist who doesn’t get out much and still lives with her progressive grandmother (Kamlesh Gill). Bored with life, Harleen registers on an online dating website, and sets up a meeting with her first match-up; enter trigger-happy thief Rajveer Nanda (Hrithik Roshan). When Harleen’s date doesn’t show up on time, Rajveer — who has just stolen the Kohinoor diamond from London, no less — catches her eye and lies about his identity, pretending to be her blind date. Captivated by his good looks and exquisite style of dealing with hazardous situations, Harleen is drawn to Rajveer and his seemingly fast paced lifestyle. After their initial encounter, Harleen unknowingly becomes intertwined in Rajveer’s dangerous world of car chases, shoot-outs, bombing raids and general mayhem on a global scale, thrusting her out of the quiet, secluded life she was all too familiar with. Unaware of his ‘true’ identity — a spy with a mysterious background — Rajveer attempts to convince Harleen that he is, in fact, the good guy. But can she really trust a secretive man with a gun, particularly once bullets start flying her way?
In true Bollywood fashion, Bang Bang! screenwriters, Sujoy Ghosh, Aladin (2009), and Suresh Nair, Salaam-E-Ishq (2007), have stretched Knight and Day’s 110 minute concept into a wafer-thin 153 minute feat, which luckily remains fast paced and engrossing thanks to the leading couple’s on-screen pizazz — the pair clearly have more chemistry than Cruise and Diaz. Likewise, director Siddharth Anand, who has had a successful run helming romantic comedies, such as, Salaam Namaste (2005), and Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008), seems to be trying his hand at action, and does a credible job for the most part, with the film’s high-octane set pieces bringing the project to life, as Bang Bang! literally explodes onto the screen with riveting car chases and amazing aqua-tricks — the film includes the first ever flyboarding stunt performed in a Bollywood or Hollywood film.
Regrettably, dialogue by Abbas Tyrewala, Salaam Namaste (2005), is somewhat rudimentary for a picture of this type; however, thanks to Anand’s knack at comedy, Bang Bang! remains lively and amusing throughout its rather lengthy run-time, even if our characters sometimes make questionable decisions, particularly Kaif’s Harleen. Cinematography by Sunil Patel, Hum Tum (2004), adds to the film’s overall glossiness, capturing picturesque locations such as Shimla, Abu Dhabi and Prague — where our heroes eventually stop over during their globetrotting travels — in post-card style. Moreover, the frequent product endorsement — predominantly by Mountain Dew, Micromax and Pizza Hut — is admittedly distracting, almost thwarting the feature’s breezy momentum.
While Hrithik Roshan, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), seems to be having a ball performing the project bravados, his oiled six-pack is gratuitously flaunted countless times throughout this actioner, almost stealing his warranted limelight — particularly as Roshan performed most of his own stunts on the project. Furthermore, Roshan verifies his ‘super-star’ status as his comic timing, agility and impressive dancing skills soften the picture’s various snags, even if his character Rajvir is essentially just an extension of his image from Dhoom: 2 (2006). Equally, the amazing Katrina Kaif, Ek Tha Tiger (2012) — who can do no wrong in my books — looks ravishing in her glamorous outfits and dazzles as the somewhat naïve Harleen — her sense of comic timing is spot on here — with her cutesy innocence playing well alongside Roshan’s swagger and confidence. Together, Roshan and Kaif make a rather dynamic duo, as their rapid-fire dialogue and vibrant screen presence, along with their mesmerizing way with music, generates an entrancing union, chiefly when they’re able to fully let loose and do their thing. Danny Denzongpa, Asoka (2001), is relatively underwhelming as the villain of the piece, Omar Zafar — the baddie leading the Muslim terrorists — who is absent for the majority of the picture, bar the exaggerated final act, where he, even then, feels largely unutilized. Finally, it’s worth mentioning Kamlesh Gill, Vicky Donor (2012), who is terrific in her minor role as Harleen’s scene-stealing, liberal granny, who generates some solid laughs early on in the film.
The music by composers Vishal Dadlani, Student of the Year (2012), and Shekhar Ravjiani, Om Shanti Om (2007), is perfectly in sync with the flick’s energetic spirit; the background score is larger than life, whilst the movie’s ‘adrenaline’ theme echoes Swedish House Mafia’s famous track, One. The picture’s ‘first look’ song, Tu Meri — written and sung by Vishal Dadlani, Dostana (2008) — is lively and fun, whereas the romance ballad, Meherbaan, is compelling and haunting. The picture’s stand-out number, however, is the title track, Bang Bang, written by Vishal Dadlani and sung by Benny Dayal and Neeti Mohan, with excellent dance choreography by Bosco Martis, and Caesar Gonsalves — who worked together on 2009’s mega-hit 3 Idiots — where we see Hrithik’s ode to legend Michael Jackson, which he pulls-off almost effortlessly, rounding out a first-rate bunch of tracks.
Bang Bang! is an impressive transition for director Siddharth Anand, who has assembled an enjoyable adventure-comedy-romance, which really kicks into high gear once the action becomes more prominent in the film’s post-interval portion. With a narrative that’ll cater to a wide range of viewers, sizzling chemistry between Roshan and Kaif, a crowd-pleasing soundtrack and riveting action, Bang Bang! is surface-level fluff mounted on a breathtaking canvas. With a bucket of popcorn by your side, and the right frame of mind, the picture’s 153 minutes will surely zoom by with a Bang Bang!
3 / 5 – Good
Reviewed by Mr. Movie
Bang Bang! is released through Fox Star Studios