Rocky Handsome (2016)
Cast: John Abraham, Diya Chalwad, Shruti Haasan,Nishikant Kamat, Sharad Kelkar
Director: Nishikant Kamat
Nutshell: A reclusive pawn shop owner sets his sights on revenge when a vicious gangsters kidnaps his drug-addicted neighbours daughter
Remakes are usually associated either with the updating of a classic, as attempted by Gus Vant Sant in his hideous reworking of “Psycho” or then adapting a foreign version for English audiences, as recently seen with “Anthony Zwimmer” being woefully adapted as “The Tourist” and George Sluizer’s magnificent “The Vanishing” recreated for English audiences with the same title and same director, resulting in the abomination of the original. Or then of course, you have the likes to Hitchcock who simply wanted to improve on an earlier film ending up with two versions of “The man who knew too much”!!! Given the afore-mentioned examples, this does not bode well for the latest offering from Bollywood, “Rocky Handsome” a remake of the an acclaimed Korean film “The man from no where”. Korean cinema is particularly violent and perhaps the most well- known of its cinema is “Oldboy”, pilfered and reworked by Sanjay Gupta as “Zinda”, a moody and stylish remake which followed the original almost scene to scene. Rocky Handsome takes a similar path in terms of following the story but without the mood or the style of “Zinda” and given Kapoor & Sons last week, an original body of work with exemplary performances, we go from the sublime to the ridiculous with Rocky Handsome.
Rocky (John Abraham) walks down the market, an aberration of red riding hood, not so little and not so red, a scowl plastered on his visage, prodding fish on sale, interspersed with flashbacks to happier times trying to tell us a story that we already know. Perhaps the dead fish reminded him of Shruti Hassan, a talentless waif fit for only fleeting glimpses! Now living in a sparse dingy apartment and operating as a pawn broker, the spin in the plot lies in our sullen hero’s relationship with a neighbour’s child, a neglected urchin, who takes refuge from her mother’s drug induced evenings, a complete antithesis to the child in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, 6 going on 66! We see the prodded dead fish again, as Mr Sullen face makes fish curry for his itinerant neighbour and listens to tales that are intended to tug at the heart but fail to do so miserably. Matters take a turn for the worse when the druggie mother decides to whack a carrier and make off with all the drugs, only to have murderous thugs arrive at her doorstep and torture her with a hair-dryer, culminating in the kidnapping of mother and child. Caught in this cesspit of crazed villains, drugs and harvesting of organs, a bellicose Rocky sets out to rescue the petulant urchin and her mother from the clutches of maniacal mobsters in an endless onslaught of fisticuffs, bullets, knives, axes and dismemberment.
John Abraham is vacant, a mannequin with the perfect body, incapable of emotion, a product of Stepford!!! Diya Chalwad is plain annoying, a throwback to the Baby Guddus whose acting abilities were suspect and their inclusion simply for their supposedly angelic looks. Nishikant Kamat and Ted Maurya playing bilious siblings are caricatures of Dick Dastardly, certainly no more menacing and much less comical. Kamat as director had half his job done, with the original at his finger- tips. His biggest failure is to concentrate solely on our hero’s abdomen and fighting skills without developing a believable bond between Rocky and the girl. In Bajrangi Bhaijaan, irrespective of its merits as a film, there was most certainly a moving bond between the two protagonists which simply does not exist here. Instead, peppered with gratuitous violence, Kamat’s lacklustre characterisation and confused narrative makes for a very dreary and drab film. One to avoid.