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Review Hindi

Nikamma review: Over-the-top action entertainer that drags out its narrative

Release Date: 17 Jun 2022 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 28min

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Sonal Pandya

Abhimanyu Dassani plays the loyal bodyguard and brother-in-law to Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s Avni in this ridiculously excessive drama by Sabbir Khan.

Sabbir Khan’s Nikamma (2022) is a more or less faithful remake of the Nani-starrer MCA Middle Class Abbayi (2017). The story is simple on paper. A no-good slacker rises to the occasion to show his brother and sister-in-law his worth.

The Telugu original, directed by Sriram Venu, also starred Sai Pallavi, Bhumika Chawla and Vijay Varma. A cursory glance at the Telugu trailer already shows more humour, moxie and chemistry between the two leads.

In the Hindi version, Abhimanyu Dassani’s Aditya Singh is the titular Nikamma, who is pampered by his family until the arrival of his sister-in-law Avni (Shilpa Shetty Kundra), whom he derisively calls ‘Madam’. He believes she has caused a wedge between him and his beloved brother.

Therefore, it’s the worst thing in the world for Adi when he is randomly asked by his brother Raman (Samir Soni) to accompany Avni on her work transfer to Dhaamli, Uttar Pradesh. Grudgingly, he accompanies her, only to become the unpaid worker of the house.

Avni works at the regional transport office and soon runs afoul of Vikramjit Bisht (Abhimanyu Singh), who has aspirations to be the local MLA. He runs a taxi service called Super that has an illegal monopoly and even threatens citizens using public transport by burning buses.

By the interval, it’s clear that it’s an all-out battle between the villain with the capital V, Bisht (thanks to Abhimanyu Singh's demeanour), and Avni and her now loyal bodyguard Adi, who conveniently discovers his sister-in-law’s good qualities. The only problem is the movie takes another hour and a half to resolve this ridiculously overdrawn conflict.

Adi bursts into Hulk mode whenever anyone even thinks of harming Avni. He is aided by his friends and girlfriend Nikki (Shirley Setia), who also happens to be Avni’s cousin.

While the confrontation in Nikamma is laboriously dragged out, the film has been shot and edited like a daily soap, complete with melodramatic reaction shots. It obviously leads to some over-the-top acting which provokes some unintentional laughs.

Then there’s Adi’s other superpower, his amazing memory, which allows him to pause, rewind and examine each past moment like an actual video. But despite this talent, the lad can’t hold on to any job or career and prefers to live life aimlessly.

Dassani, who was likeable and sweet in his debut film Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (2019), is all over the place here. Also, one can’t tell if his character is meant to be 15 or 25 the way he behaves. Shetty is more restrained until the finale, when the conflict is heightened to bring up the emotion.

Shirley Setia has little to do here except smile and wear colourful clothes. At one point, she gets injured in the neck with a knife by Bisht’s goons, who have captured her to draw Adi out. In the next scene, there is no mark of the cut.

Besides being excessive on all fronts, Nikamma feels quite dated in this day and age. For a remake, this one’s definitely lost in translation.


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