Nikamma (2022) Review!!

Synopsis – A remake of 2017 Telugu film film Middle Class Abbayi.

My Take – With films Pushpa (2021), RRR (2022), and K.G.F: Chapter 2 (2022) doing wonders at the BO, Hindi filmmakers must be seeing this a potent sign that the classic action masala film genre has been revitalized, well, if this one was meant to be a restart of the trend, the big answer is no.

A remake of the 2017 Telugu language film, Middle Class Abbayi, that featured Nani, Sai Pallavi, and Bhumika Chawla in the lead roles, which in itself was quite an average film that banked heavily on the performances more than the plot. Here, director Sabbir Khan and writer Venu Sriram (the original’s writer-director) basically use the same template, only changing a few things around to cater to the Hindi speaking audience.

Yet, despite all that nothing could save the film from a loud and clichéd execution that makes sure that the final product just stumbles in every department. A successful commercial potboiler needs a certain persuasion to engage, but sadly, this one, with its run time of 148 minutes, has very little to offer.

A few hilarious situations and enjoyable action scenes end up becoming insufficient to keep the wafer-thin plot floating. Making matters worse is that it comprises of elements that undoubtedly belong to another era, from every trope to every plot point and character-type, the film makes no attempt to revitalize the genre or bring anything we haven’t seen already some two-three decades ago or in bad Salman Khan Starrer.

The story of Adi (Abhimanyu Dassani), a slacker whose world revolves around his elder brother Raman (Samir Soni) who pampers him thoroughly. That is until Raman marries Avni (Shilpa Shetty), who immediately threatens his happy go lucky existence. Adi is furthermore perplexed when Raman asks him to go and live with his sister-in-law, a regional transport officer, when she relocated to another city.

There, the hapless guy finds himself pushed all over the house as Avni entrusts him do all the household chores and continuously urges him to get serious about his life. Amidst this, he also finds a new ladylove in the form of Natasha aka Nikki (Shirley Setia). However, when he finds out about Avni’s true intentions and finds her locking horns with Vikramjeet Bisht (Abhimanyu Singh), a dreaded gangster who is hell bent on killing her, Adi takes it upon himself to safeguard her against all odds.

Over decades, the Hindi films have been peppered with stories about young heroes without any purpose in life eventually coming of age and finds his way. Some of these characters, and subsequently, the films have charmed their way into the audience’s hearts but sadly, that doesn’t happen here, largely because the execution is weak.

With this film, director Sabbir Khan, who had previously helmed immensely forgettable affairs like Kambakkht Ishq (2009), Heropanti (2014), Baaghi (2016) and Munna Michael (2017) adds yet another underwhelming entry into his staggering filmography. But unlike his previous films, which had at-least one or two things going for it, this one severely suffers in all aspects.

Comprising of elements that undoubtedly belong to another era like honest government officer, heinous local crime lords living in outlandish palaces, a sacrificing family member, and friends who are more like extras, the film treats everything in the most generic way possible.

If the loud, over-the-top, and cringe introduction and character development of the lead protagonist was not enough, the film even massively falters to properly employ its sub plots, especially the romantic track, where our lovers simply go through the motions before being separated. The story too takes very long to come to its central issue which also seems dated.

The film might have been bearable with a snappier pace, some likable songs and better-written dialogue which includes some middle-class versus upper class debates, but alas it doesn’t. But even in the high octane climax, one cannot connect with the flaring temperament of the film and its lead characters, as the plot and screenplay just crumbles around them due to the flawed execution.

Performance wise, Shilpa Shetty, with her grace, poise and onscreen charm, doesn’t disappoint and does well with the character that she has on her hands. It really takes a lot to make someone like Abhimanyu Dassani, who impressed everyone with his acting chops and screen presence in Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (2018) and Meenakshi Sundareshwar (2021), look so uncomfortable on screen. While he is excellent in action mode, he struggles in the delivering over the top elements which come with such kind of films.

Shirley Setia has a charming screen presence but hardly gets any chance to add to the film. Even the romantic angle and chemistry between her and Abhimanyu doesn’t stick. Abhimanyu Singh continues his impressive streak of playing believable antagonists. Here, Singh even makes some bad scenes look good. The supporting cast comprising of Sachin Khedekar, Samir Soni and Vikram Gokhale are alright in their small roles. On the whole, ‘Nikamma’ is an abysmal action comedy let down by its mediocre execution and rudimentary storytelling.

Directed –

Starring  – Abhimanyu Dasani, Shirley Setia, Shilpa Shetty Kundra

Rated – PG13

Run Time – 148 minutes

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