Mega star Akshay Kumar is a box-office collections powerhouse. Sidharth Malhotra is a star of the future. And Jackie Shroff is well past his prime. In Karan Malhotra’s Brothers, each of these actors gets the role – and footage – in keeping with his persona and current professional status. That is about the only thing that Brothers gets right.
Akshay Kumar starrer Brothers is a high-pitched and nauseatingly violent drama about a family torn apart by a dark and tragic past and then struggling to get over the bitterness.
At the centre of the drama are two half-brothers sucked into the life-threatening world of mixed martial arts fighting as they chase money and redemption.
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An official remake of the 2011 Hollywood film Warrior, starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte, Brothers takes many liberties with the original script in order to tailor the tale to Indian needs.
Director Karan Malhotra (who debuted in 2012 with a new-age version of Agneepath) goes all out to make Brothers a gut-wrenching tale of three men in search of hope and a new lease of life.
In his enthusiasm, he turns the drama into a shrill and maudlin exercise targeted primarily at the lowest common denominator in the audience. The film is shorn of subtlety and emotional authenticity.
Amid the bone-crunching, blood-spilling fights, there are, among other things, a suffering mother (Shefali Shah), an ailing daughter on dialysis, a doting wife (Jacqueline Fernandez) and a bunch of gawky-eyed school kids who root for their teacher when he steps into the ring to take on dangerous MMA opponents.
What’s more, Brothers also proffers an item number featuring Kareena Kapoor Khan. But it’s no Chikni Chameli and does no good to the pace of the film. The principal protagonist of Brothers is David Fernandes (Akshay Kumar), who was taught street fighting skills in his boyhood by his now estranged father, Garson (Jackie Shroff).
He has a day job as a very popular physics teacher, but has a pressing reason to return to the ring. So does his younger sibling, Monty (Sidharth Malhotra), a bad boy with a massive chip on his shoulder. He has much to prove to his dad – and the world.
The set-up is promising enough. It is the execution that is too loud and patchy to be effective.
The first half of Brothers is devoted to unravelling the back stories of the three main characters. They are anguished souls all right, but their moral and emotional dilemmas do not assume the shape of convincing enough trigger points.
The second half is a long, unending series of violent freestyle bouts between bloodthirsty men bent upon reducing each other to physical wrecks.
In the bargain, the film, too, sustains body blows that leave behind huge pockmarks. The background score is earsplitting, the principal confrontation scenes stretch beyond endurance, and the acting overall is limited to standard means straddling drunken rants (Jackie Shroff) and brooding silences (Akshay Kumar and Sidharth Malhotra).
Brothers is an eminently avoidable film.