Movie Review: “Fighter” – Not Soaring Heights, but Plummeting Depths Starring Hrithik Roshan, and the Puzzling Presence of Deepika Padukone

Script Evaluation

Ramon Chibb and Siddharth Anand’s narrative unfolds predictably, allowing audiences to anticipate the trajectory of “Fighter 2.” In my analysis of the “Fighter” trailer’s impact, I highlighted the adherence to Siddharth Anand’s typical formula. The film strives for a sleek presentation, with the protagonists exuding an air of readiness for any fashion competition. It includes a beach song to elevate the sensual quotient, and the plot centers around the conflict between patriots and individuals associated with Pakistan. Siddharth, true to form, delivers on these aspects.

This underscores why “Pathaan” succeeded primarily due to Shah Rukh Khan’s presence. “Fighter” comes off as a fusion of “Top Gun” and “Uri” without capturing the essence of either film. The interpersonal bonding sessions among the team are poorly scripted, perhaps warranting the involvement of TVF’s Biswapati Sarkar, who contributed additional dialogues to the film. The narrative fails to establish a profound connection with any characters, relying on sequences that attempt to evoke an emotional attachment.

Except for Patty and Minni, the team members lack a compelling backstory to foster investment. Even Minni’s background feels lazily constructed, giving the impression that Siddharth added it merely because Deepika Padukone was on board. Similar to the superhero fatigue observed in Hollywood, India seems on the brink of experiencing the same phenomenon with patriotic films—more accurately, jingoistic films.

Satchith Paulose, the cinematographer from “Pathaan,” returns with his opulent style for “Fighter.” However, constrained by minimal elevation points and an abundance of outside-the-flight action scenes relying heavily on VFX, Paulose has limited opportunities to showcase his cinematographic prowess. Some sequences are commendably shot, while others are glaringly indicative of green screen usage.

Star Performances

Hrithik Roshan’s potential remains untapped in the film, hindered by a hazy character sketch that impedes his emergence as a compelling hero. The chemistry with fellow team members is forgettable, and even his connection with Deepika Padukone lacks the strength to evoke any genuine emotion. His portrayal seems as if he could have effortlessly gone through the role; indeed, he appears to have sleepwalked through it.

It’s evident why Deepika Padukone maintained a cautious distance from the film, only appearing in the final days for promotional activities. Siddharth criminally underuses her talent, doing a disservice to such a seasoned performer. Beyond a poorly developed backstory, she contributes nothing substantial to the narrative, leaving many to question her involvement in the project.

Anil Kapoor delivers what is expected when handed a straightforward character lacking depth. Karan Singh Grover and Akshay Oberoi, in supporting roles, seem present solely to enhance Hrithik Roshan’s character. Rishabh Sawhney’s portrayal as the antagonist elevates the standard, earning newfound respect akin to Jim’s (John Abraham) performance in “Pathaan.” Sanjeeda Sheikh’s role mirrors Soha Ali Khan’s in “Rang De Basanti,” albeit without a compelling story or direction.

Direction and Music

Siddharth Anand seems to have embraced the adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” a bit too earnestly, perhaps overlooking the concept of Diminishing Marginal Utility (DMU). Not every star possesses the ability to carry a film like Shah Rukh Khan, and not every film can replicate the success of “War.”

The duo of Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara endeavors to inject life into lackluster scenes with a dramatic background score, yet the visuals tend to overshadow their efforts, burdening the film under its weight. The sudden intrusion of songs amid crucial missions proves as disruptive as expected, with none of them possessing the quality to warrant a listen outside the cinematic experience.

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