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Malang - logic goes vagrant

Malang, which released in theaters in February, and is now available on Netflix, is a romantic suspense thriller trying hard to be romantic, suspenseful and thrilling, succeeding at times and mostly failing at others. The romance is mostly of the Instagram variety sponsored by GoPro cameras, and the suspense, thrills and twists are Abbas-Mastan lite by way of Vikram Bhatt.

Malang stars six pack abs wielding expressionless wonder Aditya Roy Kapur, another one of those actors like Biswajit or Bharat Bhushan from an earlier era, or Jackky Bhagnani from today's times, whose ability to keep getting cast as heroes in movies tests Darwin's theory of evolution and survival of the fittest. From Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013) to Daawat-e-Ishq (2014) to Ok Jaanu (2017) to Kalank (2019), his acting skills have improved as much as a patient who went from being in a coma to being brain-dead to flat-lining. Actually to be fair to poor Biswajit and Bharat Bhushan, I don't think they had industry godfathers flaunting nepotism like Jackky with mega producer dad Vashu Bhagnani, or Aditya with brother Siddharth Roy Kapur who was CEO of UTV Disney.

Paired with Aditya, who plays Advait Thakur, is Disha Patani, whose previous claim to fame has been being dead in no time, both in MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016) and Baaghi 2 (2018), playing Sara, an NRI who has given up her phone and Macbook to a white homeless guy on the street in New York, and landed in India to conquer her fears. They meet in Goa and do what young folks with great bodies do in the movies in Goa - drugs, sex and rock and roll - along with other adventure and water sports on a pristine blue ocean, which in the end location credits reveals itself to be shot partly in Mauritius. Saif Ali Khan's brother-in-law Kunal Khemu plays cop Michael Rodrigues adequately. Having a blast through it all though is Anil Kapoor as cocaine snorting trigger happy cop Agashe. AK looks truly ageless at 63, and with nearly four decades of acting under his belt, he is still going strong and the best thing in this movie. His world weary life observations are hilarious and his interactions with a Nigerian drug peddler are a hoot.

Malang is directed by Mohit Suri, who gave us Aashiqui 2 (2013) and Ek Villain (2014). While those movies had good songs, besides the title track, Malang has nothing memorable in its soundtrack. There are some good action set pieces, but the script has some wild leaps of faith, and logic goes for a walk like a vagrant, which is what malang means. Its tag line is "Unleash the madness". After 2 hr 15 mins, not sure if that is meant to describe the driving force of the protagonists or what the audience is supposed to do and feel.

May 25, 2020

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