Akshay Kumar has been giving the audience back-to-back releases for quite some time now. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that he has appeared in the most number of films as a lead ever since the theaters opened up after the pandemic. Less than a month after Rakshabandhan, Akshay Kumar is back with Cuttputlli. The crime thriller is a remake of the south film Ratsasan, and has the superstar step into the shoes of Vishnu Vishal. But does this remake manage to hold its own ground?
The answer is both yes and no. The film, which has been directed by Bell Bottoms director Ranjit M Tewari, is not an exact scene-to-scene copy of the original. However, not much has been changed from the original, and except for a few dialogues, and some changes in the climax, it more or less remains almost exact to what Ratsasan was. Needless to say, if someone has seen the original, they would know what is going to happen, and the mystery that is much required for one to remain hooked to thrillers would be lost. Will the performance make up for that? Not really!
But, for those who might not have seen Ratsasan, this would be quite hooking. The film is about a series of murders taking place in Himachal’s Kasauli. While Akshay Kumar’s character, insists that there is a serial killer on the loose (having researched in the area for 7 years to make a film), people dismiss him at first, but has to believe him when what he points out turns out to be true. Will Akshay Kumar defeat the killer in the mind game, or would they be defeated in the process is what the film is about.
While the film heads for a good buildup, and does keep the tempo, what’s a serious buzzkill, and totally unnecessary is the song put in the middle of a very serious chain of events! In theatres, this could have been a great loo break, but on OTT where people have the power to pause and play- it was totally unnecessary. In fact, the entire love angle between Akshay Kumar and Rakul Preet Singh seems unnecessary and fails to connect. It has, several times, hindered with the smooth pace of the film and made it feel jugged. Now in an OTT film, this loss of interest can even prove severe in cases.
Amongst the changes made in the script, it is so sad to see how the makers have put misogyny in its humour. It is also interesting to note that almost every Akshay Kumar film has misogyny is some degree or the other. There is a character of an old man, suffering from dementia, whose face lightens when he gets to know that his wife is dead, every single day! Just as unnecessary as Rakul trying to compensate by calling Akshay’s character misogynistic for trying to raise his hand on a child- no, that’s something else completely!
The direction by Tewari is good. He has control over the script for most parts. It is actually at the climax that the film stretches, and goes too long with the audience actually knowing what the outcome would be like. Some parts in the climax are well made too.
Akshay Kumar looks believable as SI Arjan Sethi, thanks to his fitness. The chase sequences do not feel out of place, and he puts up a good performance. However, it doesn’t have anything ‘hatke’ and Akshay plays his part like a cakewalk.
It is Sargun Mehta whose performance impresses, and one could only hope that she had more part to play in the film. Other stars, like Rakul Preet Singh, Chandrachur Singh and Hrishitaa Bhatt have been put in roles that are half baked, and not well written or drawn out. So while they give their best shots, their performances fail to create an impact. It is Rakul Preet’s character that disappoints the most and we could only hope that the makers would have worked a little more at least to this character.
It is also Joshua LeClaire as Christopher who stands out in the film. He might have a small part, but he delivers an impactful performance.
All in all, the film would manage to hook you, but only if you watch with a clear head, and if you have not watched the original. There are quite a few distractions too, but overall the film does manage to maintain its pace, and hold the audience’s attention.