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Kaabil review: Hrithik Roshan is the only reason to watch this revenge drama

There is something off-putting about a man who on his first date gives the woman a nickname. More so if the said name is not particularly long. So Supriya (Yami Gautam) becomes Su for Rohan Bhatnagar (Hrithik Roshan). Both are visually-impaired, fair and easy on the eyes. She is a NGO worker who flashes her teeth a lot, plays the piano and whose hair is always immaculately coiffed; he a skilled dubbing artist who apart from imitating voices pitch perfect can also dance, fight, smell, hear and sense well. And yes, he is also good with imparting words of wisdom.

“It was love at first sight,” says Rohan to Su. But their love story is cut disturbingly short when two foul-mouthed slackers – Amit (Rohit Roy) and Wasim – sexually assault Su. With Girish Kulkarni (Dangal) once again playing a baddie, this time as a corrupt police officer, and Ronit Roy repeating his act as a villain with political clout, you know that Roshan’s Rohan doesn’t stand a chance in getting justice.

Director Sanjay Gupta likes to strike an emotional blow but more than emphatic it is almost always overblown. Subtlety is not his specialty as evident in a lewd discussion on how do visually-impaired people make love. Viewers are furthermore distressed with Su being a victim not once, but twice. But that’s not dramatic enough in Gupta’s world. Another setback, easily foreseen, is delivered for the already heartbroken and helpless Rohan that becomes the last straw. With revenge on his mind, Rohan heads to the police station to taunt the inspector (Narendra Jha) about how they are about to be bamboozled by his game plan. The second half sees the hero showcase his mental acumen and execute three elaborately staged action sequences – in a rundown theatre, a warehouse and an under construction high-rise. It takes over an hour for him to do so.

If there is one person in Kaabil who demonstrates that he is remotely kaabil, it is Hrithik Roshan. The actor is more appealing as the vengeful action hero compelled to take law into his own hands than the lover boy who walks about endorsing his own brand, HRX. As the man who proves that blindness doesn’t mean one lacks the vision to plan and execute, he is able to evoke empathy with a committed act. Yami Gautam, who like her character in Badlapur is yet again a victim of violence, has a bigger part in length but it’s not effective. The Roy brothers invite fury more for their terrible Marathi than anything else.

The boy-meets-girl story of the first half hour is a cloying affair. Rajesh Roshan’s dated soundtrack consists songs that drag the proceedings. It doesn’t help that Gupta, who hearts item numbers in clubs, throws in a terrible one in “Saara Zamaana”. The sudden mawkish tone in between the action furthermore disrupts Kaabil. Much like Mohenjo Daro, which showed that one man alone cannot save a civilisation, Hrithik Roshan alone cannot save the film.

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