Boss: Film Review

Boss Film Still - H 2013
There are dumb Indian action movies. But for the true connoisseur of dumb Indian action movies, none but Akshay Kumar will do.

Bollywood action star Akshay Kumar goes for broad comedy in a remake of a South Indian hit.

Fans of Akshay Kumar, a Bollywood action and comedy star known for his brazen stunts and deliberately lunkish delivery, will know what they’re getting into when they buy a ticket to Boss.

Larded with operatic bombast, endless slo-mo fight scenes, cartoonish violence and Hindi rap songs, this is a film meant to be consumed and forgotten — although a few laughs bubble up here and there, this is strictly lowest-common-denominator stuff without much serious box office potential in the U.S. Kumar’s fan following in Britain and India, though, will take notice.

Reportedly a remake of the hit Malayalam film Pokkiri Raja, Boss is directed by Anthony D’Souza, whose cinematically dire 2009 debut Blue set records for its high budget and made headlines for its aquatic stunts. Viewers who endured that soggy film can be assured that D’Souza’s skills haven’t improved since then.

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Kumar — who also produced this film — plays Boss, a larger-than-life crime don with a hip haircut, weirdly stylish clothes and epic swagger.

Boss makes a splashy, clownish entrance a third of the way into the film, once it’s established that a sadistic cop (Ronit Roy) is bent on marrying off his sister, Ankita (Aditi Rao Hydari), to the layabout son of a corrupt high-level politician (Govind Namdeo).

Ankita is in love with Shiv (Shiv Pandit, a dead ringer for Life of Pi’s Suraj Sharma), who happens to be the younger brother of Boss (Kumar). Boss was disowned by their father over a deadly misunderstanding during his childhood, so it takes a pretty major crisis for his father (Mithun Chakraborty) to be willing to ask him to help vanquishing the bad guys.

Three of the stars of Boss are familiar faces to two generations of film lovers: Chakraborty, a top star of the 1980s, anchors his role with a sense of decency; Danny Denzongpa is charismatic as an elder crime don who takes the disowned Boss under his wing as a boy; and comedian Johny Lever is endearingly over-the-top.

If there is a redeeming feature to Boss, it lies in its theme of love and honor between fathers and sons. Many Indian movies have revolved around a mother’s love, but this is a refreshing change.

Boss is at its core a man’s film — its climax features a lengthy hand-to-hand combat scene between Roy and Kumar —and there is precious little feminine eye-candy to be seen. In fact, the film has no female romantic lead at all, outside a quickie appearance by Sonakshi Sinha in a dance number.

Opened: Oct. 16, 2013 (Viacom18)

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Ronit Roy, Mithun Chakraborty, Danny Denzongpa, Aditi Rao Hydari, Shiv Pandit, Govind Namdeo

Director: Anthony D’Souza

Screenwriters: Sajid-Farhad

Producers: Ashwin Varde

Executive producers: Wasim Khan, Zulfaquar Haider Torabi

Director of photography: Laxman Utekar

Stunts: Anal Arasu

Choreographers: Prabhudeva, Ganesh Acharya,Raju Khan, Ashley Lobo, Mudassar Khan

Editor: Rameshwar S. Bhagat

Music: Meet Brothers Anjjan

Not rated, 144 minutes