Synopsis – A battle within to keep the fighting spirit alive!
My Take – After playing a variety of nice guys, in both lead and supporting roles, ever since he made his feature debut in the long forgotten London Dreams (2009) and found breakthrough success with Aashiqui 2 (2013), Aditya Roy Kapur finally got a chance to display his excellent range in the Mohit Suri directed thriller Malang (2020). A film which particularly allowed him divulge in some impressive action sequences.
Using that image, in a now chiseled avatar, Kapur‘s latest film sees him enter into complete action zone in the form of a broody one-man-army, a Captain America of sorts. But while his dedication to the transition can’t be faulted, the filmmakers, unfortunately fail him.
Though backed by a handsomely mounted set up that tells a story about patriotism, faith, and betrayal, first time director Kapil Verma‘s film has all the makings of an ambitious thriller, but the writing is clunky, all over the place, and just a bad mix of several other action films. A bloated espionage drama that just collapses under its own weight.
Unsurprising considering the film is produced by Ahmed Khan, who is notoriously known for having helmed atrocities like Lakeer (2004), Fool & Final (2007), Baaghi 3 (2020) and Heropanti 2 (2022).
Brainless hard-core action entertainers can be fun to watch (like last year’s Sooryavanshi), but this one barely scratches the surface as writers Raj Saluja and Niket Pandey’s screenplay is unnecessarily convoluted and predictable at the same time. Nearly everything about the film just seems to make a mockery of common sense and sensitivity.
The story follows Om Rathore (Aditya Roy Kapur), an Indian paramilitary commando employed by a special division of RAW, run by his father Jai Rathore (Ashutosh Rana), and his senior and mentor Murthy (Prakash Raj). The division was formed specifically to track down an anti-nuclear missile shield that went missing years ago, but when a possible location is spotted, Om is sent in to prevent the exchange into wrong hands. However, the mission unexpectedly goes awry when Om gets shot in the head.
Gaining conscience only a few months later, in a safe house where he was treated under the watchful care of his colleague Dr. Kavya Sharma (Sanjana Sanghi), a confused Om confides that his real name is Rishi and that his real father Dev (Jackie Shroff), the scientist who created the missile shield, was taken from him. A missing Dev who has since been branded a national traitor.
With a personal stake in hand, despite suffering from partial memory loss, Om is determined to find the shield, find his father at all costs and prove to the world that he was not a traitor.
Right off the bat, even with a ton of money pumped in, perfectly choreographed and shot fight sequences, a twisty enough plot to keep you invested, this one is a bad film, period. The film’s writing is all over the place and padded with multiple layers making it unnecessarily complex. Throw in a family drama involving a loving foster-father who is also a patriot, a doting foster-mother, and a female colleague, who is a combat specialist and a doctor and secretly in love with the hero.
Subplots are introduced every few minutes and most do not feel important to the plot. What could have been a simple revenge drama gets unnecessarily complicated and drags on and on. The deafening background score adds noise to every big and small event on the screen.
Recurrent themes of nationhood, patriotism, loyalty etc. are brutally fired in the audience’s face to an extent that everything feels predictable, even the twist in the climax where we know for sure that the rat in Om’s mission to bring back the shield to India is a team member. However, the action choreography is a definite plus and somewhat makes up for the otherwise lengthy and laborious screenplay.
Performance wise, Aditya Roy Kapur is smoldering in his new macho avatar as an out-and-out action hero. The effort and dedication he has put into physically transforming himself for the role shows on screen. His action is impressive, and this is a genre he can probably explore more. Sanjana Sanghi too surprises with her action scenes. Although she is given limited space to showcase her action skills, she holds everyone’s attention with her action scenes.
In supporting roles, Jackie Shroff does well in her limited role, Ashutosh Rana performs his part with full diligence and restrain, Prakash Raj‘s role is very reminiscent of his former roles, Prachee Shah Pandya has some decent scenes and Vicky Arora is good. On the whole, ‘Rashtra Kavach Om’ is an outlandish and poorly written action thriller that wastes its talented cast.
Directed – Kapil Verma
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 135 minutes