Gabbar is back - without a bang

Khadija Mughal reviews a typical Akshay Kumar thriller, which carries an age-old message executed with a twist

Gabbar is back - without a bang
Gabbar is Back, the Akshay Kumar and Shruti Haasan starrer, wasn’t exactly highly anticipated, but it did manage to generate a peculiar cult following prior to its release. Most of these cult followers looked forward to the movie’s release for the action that it promised. Others for the romance that they expected following the release of the melodious Arijit Singh number, Teri Meri Kahaani. And the remainder – undoubtedly a significant number – looked forward to watching Chitrangda Singh’s item song, Aao Raja, on the big screen. How many of its followers did the movie manage to satisfy? Let’s take a look.

Usual Storyline with a Twisted Tail and Lots of Lessons

Gabbar is Back, an adaptation of the 2002 Tamil film, Ramanaa, is essentially an action/drama thriller, and like most action thrillers, it does manage to generate a bit of suspense. The movie starts off on a jolting note when 10 tehsildaars in the Indian state of Maharashtra are shown to be kidnapped. By the end of the day, nine of them are released – and one is found hanging off a rope in the middle of the city. A CD is delivered to the police station, and circulated across the state in which a man called Gabbar accepts responsibility for the murder of the tehsildaar and explains the reason behind it: he wants to punish corrupt government officers in order to erase corruption from the country.

Meanwhile, a college professor, Aditya (Akshay Kumar) – evidently a students’ favourite – is shown delivering a physics lecture. Suddenly a few thugs are shown to invade the campus, and Professor Aditya wards them off single-handedly. He valiantly declares that the campus of National College does not allow the entry of the police or gangsters. It is later revealed that Professor Aditya is the man who calls himself Gabbar.


Gabbar and his gang of good men subsequently kidnap more high profile officers – always kidnapping ten and murdering one. In an interesting sequence of events, Professor Aditya, as himself, manages to expose the fraudulent activities taking place in Patil Hospital, owned by Digvijay Patil (Suman Talwar) – a man who claims to have murdered Aditya with his own hands five years ago. The rest of the movie is an engaging tug-of-war between the corrupt builder Patil and the righteous murderer Gabbar – and the winner of the war is not revealed till the very end.
Akshay Kumar's fans would definitely enjoy watching Gabbar is Back

One-Man Show – and Doesn’t Even Pretend Otherwise

Akshay Kumar lovers would definitely enjoy watching Gabbar is Back. The movie is brimming with action – a given in an Akshay Kumar starrer – and has its moments of humour – that, too, of the goofy-yet-witty Akshay Kumar brand. The good thing about Gabbar is Back is that it is unashamedly centred upon its lead man – the rest of the cast is barely known. The only other mentionable performance comes from Sunil Grover, as the police constable, Sadhuram, which is primarily because of the role, and not quite because of the actor playing it.

Do not Watch for the Romance

Anybody who is expecting to see romantic sequences in the movie – don’t, you have been misled by the chocolatey Teri Meri Kahaani. In fact, most of the romance in the movie is delivered in that three-minute song. The rest of it – scanty, to say the most – are rushed snippets between Shruti (Shruti Hasaan) and Professor Aditya, which are never really allowed to bloom.

Watch for the Item Song

Those who intended to watch Gabbar is Back for the item song, Aao Raja, would not be disappointed. The attractive Chitrangda Singh, coupled with the song’s choreography and setting make Aao Raja – a mediocre yet catchy, typical Honey Singh number – an entertaining watch. Teri Meri Kahaani, in which Kareena Kapoor makes her cameo as Aditya’s wife, Sunaina, is also a treat for fans of Arijit Singh’s melodious voice. The rest of the movie’s soundtrack is rather forgettable.

The movie makers have focused on delivering their message

Watch for the Message

More than the action, the romance and the songs, the movie makers of Gabbar is Back have focused on delivering their message: the corruption in both governmental and private institutions must stop. The message is noble, but what about its delivery? The movie takes a very sensationalist and incredible route, blends a bit of Main Azaad Hoon with Mr. India, and creates an unrealistic story which is just that – an unrealistic story. However, if viewers manage to glean the story of its sensationalism and impracticalities, focusing instead on the message that it is attempting to deliver, they would benefit far more.

In a nutshell, Gabbar is Back is an entertaining movie with a worthy message, but with a lingering impact that could have been made a lot stronger – but expecting that would be too much of a two-hour flick.