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Fighter Movie Review: Hrithik Roshan-Deepika Padukone's visual spectacle is a befitting tribute to the Indian Air Force
IAF Squadron Leader Patty (Hrithik Roshan) and his team embark on a dangerous mission to rescue their imprisoned team members from a deadly terrorist group. The movie is a tribute to the Indian Air Force fighter pilots.
- Siddharth Anand
- Hrithik Roshan,
- Deepika Padukone,
- Anil Kapoor,
- Karan Singh Grover,
- Akshay Oberoi,
- Rishabh Sawhney
When the trailer of the Siddharth Anand directorial Fighter was released after much anticipation, amidst all the excitement was a wave of skepticism on whether the movie would do justice to its theme and message. That is to be a befitting tribute to the bravery, patriotism, and sense of sacrifice of the Indian Air Force. There was a fear about whether the film would move towards jingoism and a forced love angle. But on its release today (January 25), the film proved me wrong in this aspect as it not once faltered from its riveting objective, and on top of it was a stellar visual spectacle when it came to the ariel combat sequences.
The plot revolves around the fighter pilots of the Air Dragons unit of the Indian Air Force. The skilled fighters abide by one common emotion which is a sense of devotion and love for the country. Under the leadership of their Group Captain, Rakesh Jai Singh aka Rocky (Anil Kapoor), they are trained at the Srinagar Base Camp in Kashmir to ready themselves for any kind of terror attack from the terrorist group called Jaish. The group consists of Squadron Leader Shamsher Pathania aka Patty (Hrithik Roshan), Squadron Leader Minal Rathore aka Minnie (Deepika Padukone), Squadron Leader Sartaj Gill aka Taj (Karan Singh Grover), and Squadron Leader Basheer Khan (Bash). While the group bonds, after some initial friction, sparks fly between Patty and Minnie. However, Patty fights his own inner battles due to a traumatic past which is also the cause of things going downhill between him and his CO Rocky. However, their world is turned upside down after the Pulwama attacks. Patty is again faced with his worst nightmare when his team members are compromised during a retaliation mission. Will Patty and his remaining team members rescue their team members and also avenge the terrifying attacks meted onto their base camps?
Fighter soars high on all the notes be the soul-stirring message of patriotism and the courage of the IAF soldiers or the technicalities of the ariel action sequences. The comparisons with Tom Cruise’s cult film Top Gun were inevitable but Fighter stands out when it comes to the aesthetics of the action scenes. The special effects by Vishal Patnaik and stunts by Parvez Sheikh have been curated meticulously. The spirit of the IAF soldiers and their mannerisms does not look exaggerated or artificial. Siddharth Anand gives all the characters to breathe in the screenplay and not one supporting cast member looks underutilized. The movie keeps you on the edge of your seats during the entire time with its emotions, action scenes, performances, dialogues, badassery, and slick execution. Watch out for an ariel action sequence between Patty and a Pakistani officer. If Pathaan goes by the tagline ‘Kursi Ki Peti Baand Lo’, Fighter goes by ‘Kursi Ki Peti Khol Dijiye’, you will get to know why. The message of the aviation industry being considered to be a man’s world and the fact that women are still considered incapable of flying was also explored endearingly through Minnie’s character. The love angle does not look forced and is a misfit in the storyline. Probably the only downside was some overly inflated action sequences in the climax which defied logic in some portions but other than that, the emotions were organic and simply chef’s kiss.
Talking about the performances, Hrithik Roshan not only embodies the charm and handsomeness of his character wherein he can make way with the ladies by just saying ‘Please’ but in the emotional sequences, he is vulnerable and moving. The discipline of a soldier, the slight tint of arrogance, the trauma of past baggage, and the complete badassery as a fighter are flawlessly portrayed by him. Fighter does justice to the performer which is Deepika Padukone. Instead of reducing her character to that of a love interest, she has a strong arc of that of a no-nonsense officer and a woman who wants to spread the message to the world that flying is bloody well made for all the women too. Anil Kapoor is again defying age with his magnanimous screen presence. He shares some emotionally powerful sequences with Hrithik which is simply a treat to behold.
Karan Singh Grover and Akshay Oberoi do full justice to their roles. There is never a dull moment with them on the screen. Rishabh Sawhney is an absolute terror in a positive way as the antagonist Azhar Akhtar. The slick long hairdo, menacing glare, and blood-red eye are capable of sending chills down your spine. Supporting appearances of Sanjeeda Shaikh and Ashutosh Rana are also a treat to witness.
Coming to the background scores, they hit a high note during the action sequences. The soundtracks namely ‘Heer Aasmani’ and ‘Mitti’ are stand-outs. However, ‘Sher Khul Gaye’ comes across as rather underwhelming but the choreography and visuals strike a chord. Apart from some minor misses, Fighter proves to be a visual extravaganza.