Tiger Shroff is out with his third film. Remo D’Souza has his fourth directorial venture. I wonder what it says about Bollywood. I am not very sure about the fate of Shroff’s films at the box office but D’Souza has had a good run with his ABCD franchise. Well yeah, it is a franchise right? No matter how badly they are directed or acted, they were money spinners. You don’t even have to direct these well, they just have to be put together better and one may find a not half bad film in them. But here we are, D’Souza’s fourth film (and he’s reached Farah Khan’s tally – one won’t be exaggerating when saying Khan is the far better filmmaker) and he enters another possible “franchise”. Or at least that’s how it is regarded the world over – the superhero film.
How bad is A Flying Jatt? Difficult to say. As in, it is bad but quite a challenge to find a threshold. D’Souza’s direction is unsurprisingly dead on arrival. Tiger Shroff’s muscles clench and twist but face remains as plain as ever. There is a picture of Jackie Chan in Amaan’s (Tiger Shroff) room. A Flying Jatt could have gone the way of several of Chan’s films from 90s that were essentially action potboilers that did nothing for us but we watched because, hey, Jackie Chan! Neither Shroff nor D’Souza can muster the charm that adorns his wall. In an early scene, Malhotra (Kay Kay Menon) who needs the land owned by Amaan and his mother (Amrita Singh trying too hard, too serious) says how he managed to buy a whole jungle crawling with naxalites. The mind instantly dials back to Kay Kay Menon as a Naxalite in Sudhir Mishra’s Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi and then lets out a sigh to find him in a film like this doing the role of – not even the villain – just an enabler.
D’Souza has taken more than cues from every superhero film and when Amaan gets his powers, he is made to watch some of those. The comedy gives a hint that this is a spoof and then suddenly the tone changes as it becomes a serious film. A serious film in its maker’s eyes but the tonal shift only morphs it into an unintentional comedy. It also includes a very bad imitation of the famous Quicksilver scene from X-Men: Days of Future Past. Today we complain about Hollywood superhero movies becoming derivative and here we have A Flying Jatt that is a derivative’s derivative. Now that superhero movies are such constants in our pop culture, its own derivative can only be zero.
(An edited version of this was published in The New Indian Express)