Mumbai, 07 Feb 2020 8:30 IST
The Mohit Suri film combines several elements to present a twisted tale of romance and vengance.
Aditya Roy Kapur's introduction in Mohit Suri's Malang (2020) features one long-take action sequence in prison where he takes on a slew of other inmates, eventually emerging victorious. The actor, who has really beefed up for the part, plays character Advait Thakur in proper Hulk mode. The thriller largely takes places over a Christmas eve when Advait executes his targeted hits of members of a specialist cell in the police.
Surprisingly, before embarking on his mission, he calls inspector Anjaney Agashe (Anil Kapoor) to inform him of the upcoming actions. As the evening progresses into night, Advait picks off the police officers (Vatsal Sheth, Keith Sequeira and Prasad Jawade) one by one. Another member of the squad, Michael Rodrigues (Kunal Kemmu), arrives on the scene to find out who is behind the murders, and why.
In between, the film goes back five years, when a less intense Advait bumps into Sara Nambiar (Disha Patani) at a rave party in Goa. The two youngsters have discarded all material possessions in favour of a nomadic lifestyle and take life as it comes. The sparks fly instantly between them and they soon join forces to face their fates through Sara's knotted bracelet that helps them tick off adventure after adventure as they dive the deep waters and jump out of airplanes.
But all is not hunky-dory, as the carefree Advait has a moment of commitment phobia that he comes to regret. It sets off a chain of events that leads to him being arrested and put away for five years on a charge of peddling drugs. So when he is finally released, he is primed and thirsting for revenge.
The mystery of what eventually happened to Sara is hidden in the second half, but the eventual twists in the story written by Aseem Arora, with screenplay by Aniruddha Guha, feel largely predictable. And there are echoes of Suri's own Ek Villain (2014) in a few scenes of Malang.
Aditya Roy Kapur puts in an intense, physical performance as the focused Advait who lets nothing deter him on his quest. He makes the most of this star turn, and comes across as sincere in his portrayal.
Anil Kapoor, the veteran in the cast, puts in an inspired performance as the encounter specialist Agashe, who does drugs while on duty and is prone to bursting into laughter at the situations around him. However, there are moments when he dials it up a bit too far. He does have one hilarious comedic scene with an African drug peddler, who sings like a canary after inspector Agashe interrogates him.
Kunal Kemmu's Michael is the straight arrow who controls Agashe from flying off the handle in the investigation, until he himself is pushed to his limits and tested. Like in Kalank (2019), Kemmu plays his character's dualities well. Elli Avram also has a small but significant part in Malang.
Disha Patani looks the part as London girl Sara finding herself in Goa, but her character has the least to do in the film. She and Roy Kapur are paired well in the film, and the extremely fit stars have a ball in the sequences in Goa which feature them in skimpy clothing (thankfully, it's equal opportunity) and lots of adventure sports. The cinematography by Vikas Sivaraman in these sequences is appealing, though at times the film feels like an extended ad for GoPro cameras.
At several opportunites, the characters of Malang indulge in drugs from cocaine to ecstasy, and the Central Board of Film Certification's creative warnings on the screen are surprising and unintentionally funny. One says, 'Don't be insane, drugs ruin the brain', while another is more dire: 'Drugs are roads to death'.
Like in Suri's previous films, the music is key to several emotional scenes. From the title track to 'Humraah', the music of Malang fills in the gaps of the story, allowing the characters to emote through it.
Suri manages to drag the melodrama out of this thriller, saving its revelations for key moments. Depending on your ability to guess the eventual outcome of the mystery, you may or may not be satisfied.
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