Synopsis – A young man, tries to follow the footsteps of his idol, The King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
My Take – With three films under his kitty, I think Tiger Shroff has well proven that he can dance flawlessly, pass off one liners & break bones as if it is his daily job. Here, he is collaborating for the third time with director Sabbir Khan (after Heropanti and Baaghi), for another go around at making a full-length feature film with dance sequences and unreasonable fight scenes as the prime focus, however, this time along the ride they have the ever dependable Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a parallel role. While the promos seemed catchy, especially involving the sequences of camaraderie between Tiger & Nawazuddin‘s characters, the film is anything but good. All the four films directed by Sabbir Khan, from turkeys like Kambakkht Ishq (2009) and financially successful Baaghi (2016), have a common trait – the absence of a script! Maintaining the low quality of his entire filmography comes, he comes up with this dance comedy that takes inspiration from one of the greats to make a film that is eligible for at least one win at the annual Ghanta Awards. Like his previous efforts, this film too feels like an over-stretched version of an 80s or 90s film, where people took to alcohol after being thrown out of jobs and found children in dustbins, who they’d eventually adopt, there is friendship and deceit & of course the most predictable love triangle unfolds once the two male leads become banter buddies. This film seemed like yet another expensive platform for Tiger Shroff to display his skills both with his feet & fists. For fans of the remarkably fit and graceful actor, this should be a double treat, and it nearly is, other than its nothing else.
The story follows Munna (Tiger Shroff), a devoted Michael Jackson fan, who was left on the street as an infant & was brought by Michael (Ronit Roy), a former background dancer himself. Using his dancing skills, Munna aims to reach very high, however, Michael does not concur with his son’s aspirations and instead wants him to get a corporate job which is more secure and reputable. Munna disregards this and ends up being challenged by nobodies, eventually locking horns with Mahinder Fauji (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a fiendish Delhi hotelier and thug, whose kid brother, Balli (Pankaj Tripati), he beat up the previous night. However, instead of harming him, Mahendra requests Munna to teach him proper dancing in 30 days so that he can impress Dolly (Nidhhi Agerwal), a petite young dancer who works at a local pub and believes that the best way to impress her is by acing his dance moves. With a newly friendship formed between the two, Munna turns into a courier man for Mahinder and even takes the responsibility of courting Dolly for him when she runs away, but like one’d expect, Munna ends up falling for Dolly & vice versa. What follows is a predictable run and chase tale featuring the three and their starkly different dance moves – Munna, the perfectionist, Mahinder, the earnest and Dolly, the forced one. Packed with dance, hybrid music (eight songs done by eight music makers!) and action, the film tries to develop a connection with the masses and the kids, who scream, cheer & whistle every time Shroff breaks into a dance or starts beating up people to the pulp. However, someday or the other this kind of support may begin to tone down unless he picks up a script which has something challenging for him. The supposed old-fashioned storyline here by Viki Rajani is a major let down. It seems like he & Sabbir Khan sat down watching Zee Cinema or Star Gold and picked out 3-4 films from the 80s & 90s & to create a script by stitching all of them together. Sure, the first half of the film has ample moments to rely on, but you can’t help the feeling of haven’t we seen all that before? We know Tiger Shroff is a pro at moving his legs wherever he wants. We know Nawazuddin is not a fantastic dancer. But the film offers them nothing new to challenge the artistes in them. Plus, the love triangle is also nothing new. It is evident that the writers wanted to make a comedy film, but also wanted to spice it up with gimmicks of dance and some old school hero-villain elements. All things considered, there is not an iota of logic in the proceedings. What gangster requests his potential victim to teach him dance moves? Okay, humor apart, how did it even pass muster in the writer’s room? Having this as the main plot element, the film then shifts into romance between Munna and Dolly as both of them dance their bottoms off, eluding poor Mahendra. This for the 3rd time Tiger Shroff has worked with Sabbir Khan & designed a film around song sequences, without bothering about the storyline, because who needs a story after various shots of chiseled abs. And when you’re done with that, a song is forced into the narrative because we need something to wake the audience up! The title gives it away- Munna is an ardent MJ fan which gives him the right to break into choreographed dance sequences every fifteen minutes followed by graceful action sequences.
So, all you’ll watch is dance sequences overlapped with action sequences at regular intervals! The film, in entirety, lacks any logic and coherence in its plot. The story is predictable and will often have you looking at your watch. After Baaghi and Heropanti, the filmmaker continues to maintain a routine formula – zilch story but plenty of action and dance sequences. But sadly, even the dance sequences aren’t worthy of much and the action scenes are only forced testaments to Munna’s tag line Munna jhagda nahi karta, Munna sirf peetta hai. There is some reality show in the background (which is judged by Shaan, Farah Khan, and Chitrangada Singh if you’re interested), a gang of three that happens to be Munna’s chum group but now seem to be helping Dolly qualify in that reality show, Munna not disclosing his “superb” dance skills to Dolly just because, and Dolly chasing her dream to prove to her father. There are all sorts of gimmickry in the film – something director Khan is known for – that makes it all look like a flashy TV show without substance. It is also a brain wave, no less, for the director to have cast Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the antagonist, and to have given him punch-lines as well. The sequences wherein Munna teaches Mahinder to dance are thoroughly entertaining for the masses. Making Mahinder’s character quirky, funny yet innately decent works big-time, especially in the climax of what can be considered a very differently structured love triangle. The casting against type also helps the film score big – besides Siddiqui, there is Ronit Roy as the cheerful, boisterous and loving father and Tripathi as the bumbling sibling of the don. Mahinder-Munna’s brotherhood is perhaps another aspect that filmmaker could have played on. But alas, nothing much comes of it. Nawaz pulling off a Rajasthani dialect and Tiger flaunting a Marathi accent make their camaraderie sound interesting but for a lack of an interesting story, it falls flat. The status quo is maintained – this is another Heropanti. Yes, the scenes where Tiger and Nawazuddin shake a leg are genuinely fun to watch, but still ineffectual in the overall scheme of things. Munna wants to dance and he wants money for his father’s medical care, yet director Sabbir Khan makes his choose between these opposing themes arbitrarily while we are left to fend for ourselves. The best way to relish this film is by arranging your expectations of it. Let’s get real – there is no novelty to what plays out. There is some fun to be had if you have interest in either action or dance, or both. Siddiqui’s comic relief is a cherry on the top. But the real treat here is Shroff, who has mastered the genres of dance and action in this industry. Sure, Tiger Shroff is an average actor, but seeing him break a leg and then some bones is just entertaining. With sheer élan and an unexplainable grace, he lights up the screen whenever he’s dancing or just pouncing on the goons. The undemanding and unpretentious script races from start to finish, pausing to give Shroff numerous opportunities to display his outstanding dancing and fighting skills. The young actor has also worked on his dialogue delivery and expressions since his previous film A Flying Jatt (2016). His face used to be the one part of his body that barely moved, but some of the animation that characterizes the parts below the neck has finally made its way upwards. Nawazuddin Siddiqui as always performs well! This actor can do anything! He makes the lamest of lines sound good, brings honesty to a character that is most shabbily written and ups our expectations even from a Tiger Shroff film! His fans are going to have one helluva time at this freak show. Niddhi Agerwal, in her Hindi debut, looks gorgeous and shows quite some spunk and charm & will do well if she handles her career with care and competence! Ronit Roy & Pankaj Tripati are alright in supporting roles. On the whole, ‘Munna Michael’ is a flashy film which despite Tiger Shroff’s terrific dancing skills and Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s histrionics is letdown by a weak screenplay and a cliched storyline.
Directed – Sabir Khan
Rated – PG
Run Time – 140 minutes