Onam...the very thought of this festival tingles our visual senses & salivary glands thanks to the sumptuous sadya along with the movie releases. Apart from the numerous Malayalam films, even Bollywood had one prominent release in the form of Kabir Khan's "Phantom". With "Bajirangi Bhaijaan" turning out to be the second biggest blockbuster of all time, Kabir had a whale of a time coming into his latest offering. So will Saif conjure atleast a fraction of the semblance of what Salman achieved with the same director???
26/11...a day which will be etched in our memories forever when LeT orchestrated a massacre in Mumbai. Almost seven years have passed since that fateful day, but due to our rather soft diplomatic demeanor or for some other reason known to only our Government, the masterminds behind that heinous act is still at large. RAW comes up with a covert operation to eliminate them & entrusts a disgraced Indian army officer, Dhaniyal Khan (Saif Ali Khan) to put their plans into it's rightful culmination. He is also helped in his mission by Nawaz Mistry (Katrina Kaif), a former RAW operative who provides him with the necessary resources. But will he able to take down the kingpins as planned???
If "Bajirangi Bhaijaan" focused on Indo-Pak brotherhood then Kabir's latest venture touches on the other extreme which is the topic of terrorism. However, unlike other espionage thrillers like "Baby" or "D-Day" this one fails to evoke similar excitement or rather to put it in simple terms, it felt like any other action movie inspite of the artillery on display. Based on Hussain Zaidi's "Mumbai Avengers", the script is an amalgamation of fact & fiction, but the problem is that the latter aspect fails to grip the audience. It's as if the makers were more interested in Sunny Deol's Gadar pattern of modus operandi before bringing the curtains down in Titanic style. The technical aspects were fine with some crisp editing by Arif Sheikh & Aditya Banerjee and credible visuals by Aseem Mishra.
Saif looks suave & dashing, but as a rugged action hero,,,he is definitely not the right choice. I'm not saying he has to be expressive & over the top, but come on...pasting a scowl on your face isnt exactly how you portray yourself as being tough. Katrina Kaif was even more pathetic as she had the same "damsel in distress" expression throughout the whole movie with the irony being she plays a former RAW operative. As for the rest of the cast, none of them deserves special mention as they barely had much to do except sit around the table & discuss or click on their computers.
Verdict: As per current reports, "Bajrangi Baijaan" has racked in 600 crores which will have Kabir Khan smiling ear to ear, but he will consider himself lucky if "Phantom" manages to huff & puff past 60 crores. The film might proclaim itself to belong to the genre of "espionage thriller"...but it fails to thrill for a major portion. In short, wont hurt to give it a try but on TV!!!