CAST: Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone, Anil Kapoor, Karan Singh Grover, Akshay Oberoi, Talat Aziz, Sanjeeda Shaikh, Ashutosh Rana, Rishab Sawhney.

DIRECTOR: Siddharth Anand

What you expect in a story of friendship, camaraderie and a desi Top-Gun feel is half delivered in Fighter. The reason for that is the excessive jingoism that laces the narrative.

This sky-high drama, a blend of ‘Top Gun’ flair and ‘Uri’s’ patriotism, spiced with Siddharth Anand’s signature style, boasts an array of slick action sequences. The lead actors bring their A-game, adding a layer of finesse to the thrilling stunts.

Fighter Review: Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone Soar High in Siddharth  Anand's Epic War Drama - News18Fighter teaser: Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone share lighthearted moment  before call of duty. Watch video | Bollywood News - The Indian Express

Yet, the film seems hesitant to fully embrace its core strength: the daring aerial exploits of both male and female pilots and their natural chemistry.

The age-old Bollywood trope of Pakistan as the primary antagonist is revisited yet again. Despite fresh takes in films like the 2019 ‘Uri’ and Anand’s own 2021 ‘Pathaan’, this narrative feels worn out.

Deepika Padukone's bikini is angering Indian men. This time she's  'degrading' women pilots

The repetitive portrayal of terrorists with exaggerated theatrics and the same old hideouts in Pakistan doesn’t break any new ground. Even the new villain, Rishabh Sawhney’s Lashkar leader Azhar Akhtar, with his stylized appearance and over-the-top dialogues, feels like a retread of familiar territory.

Hrithik Roshan, reuniting with Anand after ‘War’, impresses as Shamsher Pathania (aka Patty), the top-notch fighter pilot who’s as skilled in domestic chores as he is in the cockpit. Deepika Padukone shines as helicopter pilot Minnal Rathore (Minni), proving her prowess in rescue missions and holding her own in a male-dominated field. The camaraderie among the aviators, including Karan Singh Grover as Sartaj ‘Taj’ Gill and Akshay Oberoi as Basheer ‘Bash’ Khan, adds depth to the narrative. However, the inclusion of stereotypical characters like the token patriotic Muslim and the Sikh officer relegated to comic relief feels outdated and clichéd.

Fighter teaser: Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone and Anil Kapoor are ready  for take off. Watch: |

While the film excels in its high-octane action and star performances, it falls into the trap of repetitive storytelling and stereotypical character portrayals.

Last year, the same director gifted us ‘Pathaan’, a vibrant spy adventure. It was a playful tale of a hero reclaiming his territory and asserting his enduring presence, all while cleverly not taking itself too seriously.

Fast forward to ‘Fighter’, and we encounter a jarring blend of realism and conventional mainstream tropes. Predictability creeps in – when the camera fixates on a pilot just a tad too long, you sense their impending doom. The plot becomes transparent: the sacrificial hero, the predictable homecoming, the repentant parents.

Repetition dulls the impact of otherwise potent lines, like Minni’s comment on gender equality in the skies, which initially inspires but loses its charm with each recurrence.

This film seems torn between its aspirations for realism, evident in the meticulous depiction of Air Force life and a stunning mid-movie aerial display reminiscent of the best ‘Top Gun’ moments, and the urge to cater to crowd-pleasing nationalism with heavy-handed dialogues. Hrithik and Deepika are a dynamic duo on screen, and Anil Kapoor, matching the leads in vigor, adds a solid backing.

However, the film’s descent into the pitfalls of hyper-nationalism leads to an overblown narrative. True strength lies not in grandiose declarations, but in understated confidence.

It fails to showcase the chemistry between its lead pair and succumbs to soft-porn song picturization on beaches in an attempt to bring in the hypersexual audience’s attention.

This movie, in its bid to resonate with patriotic fervor, ends up compromising the subtlety that often defines great cinema.



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