‘Action Replayy’ – back to the future of Bollywood (IANS Movie Review)
Film: ‘Action Replayy’; Cast: Aishwarya Rai, Akshay Kumar, Aditya Roy Kapoor; Director: Vipul Amrutlal Shah; Rating: **
Hollywood and Bollywood, despite similarities in their names, hardly have anything in common. Except that the latter often borrows concepts from its older cousin. Yet, it manages to make something different from the original. ‘Action Replayy’ is an example of that.
When proposed to, Bunty (Aditya Roy Kapoor) refuses to marry his girlfriend because he has seen his parents Kishan (Akshay Kumar) and Mala (Aishwarya Rai) fight since he was born. Even on their 35th marriage anniversary, they fight as if they were sworn enemies. A determined Bunty steals a ride on a time machine invented by his girlfriend’s grandfather to go back in time to make it all right.
Doing this will be tougher than he had imagined as he finds his parents very different from what they are today. Parenting ones parents, Bunty would realise, is the toughest job in the whole wide world.
The basic premise isn’t new. Even before ‘Back To The Future’ made it famous, travelling to the past to correct one’s present was staple food of science fictions. It is, after all, the ultimate human fantasy.
What is new is how ‘Action Replayy’ lays bare the difference between two of the biggest commercial filmmaking centres of the world, Hollywood and Bollywood. While in ‘Back To The Future’ the stress is on science fiction and survival of the time traveller, here it is on human relations and the various emotions associated with it.
Also the paper thin, cliched villains of the film shows that Bollywood is still in a time-wrap. But ‘Action Replayy’ can perhaps afford to, it being a time-wrap story and all.
Lot of efforts have been made to get the sets right, and surprisingly it often works. Vignettes of ancient advertisements, painstakingly made a part of the set by the filmmakers, make it a thrill to watch, especially for those from that era.
The costumes, however, try too hard to be retro. If you watch films of those period, they were not so flowery and jazzy as in this film. However, given the lighter vein in which the film is made, it is perhaps justified.
Aishwarya and Akshay are as good as Bollywood can get, which isn’t much. Pritam’s music is average and only when we do an action replay from the high plinth of the future, will we come to know the corners of the world he has plagiarised from.
Few spoofs are hilarious, especially the one on the Gujarati band led by Mahesh Kumar whose brother can sing in two voices. The one where the son is desperately trying to make his retro father understand the concept of sex and uses the typical Hindi film analogy of two flowers meeting is a laugh-riot.
Despite this the film misses many opportunities for gags that can easily be part of a time travel film. Just the inclusion of names common today like Obama, Mallika Sherawat, Saif Ali Khan etc., does not necessarily make it humorous.
‘Action Replayy’ despite its best intentions and few successes, fails in many others. Perhaps it will take someone else to say action-reply and better the present for Bollywood.