Till 2008, Hindi movies categorized on the basis of Box Office Performance were either one of these – flop, average, semi-hit, hit, super-hit and blockbuster. And then, Director A.R. Murugadoss remade his own Tamil film ‘Ghajini’ (inspired by maverick director Christopher Nolan’s ‘Memento’) for a wider audience. It was the first Hindi Film to cross the 100 crore mark in the Domestic Market. What followed and continues is a string of so-called biggies; most successful and mostly dim-witted ones at that. Six years hence, we now have 100 crore and 200 crore clubs; so prestigious are these that any awaited big film with a huge star which does not cross it quickly is instantly compared with the ones done by contemporaries. The director who began the trend comes up with his second Hindi film at such a time; with another superstar and again remaking another Tamil film made by him – ‘Thuppakki’.
Captain Virat Bakshi (Akshay Kumar), an army soldier is back home in Mumbai on a holiday. As soon as he arrives in the station, his family takes him to meet a girl for marriage. Saiba (Sonakshi Sinha) is probably the most irritating woman you would never want to meet. Rejected at first by our soldier because he thinks she is too shy and minutes later, he falls for her when he sees her boxing in a ring. It left me to wonder if a woman like that can ever turn a man on, especially because she even slaps her father for being confused, decides to propose Virat only because she sees her friend marrying a bald man and realizes good men are rare to find. All I could figure out is that only Sonakshi Sinha can accept a role like this. The tagline tells us – ‘A Soldier Is Never Off Duty’ and so, Captain Virat is also a special agent in the Defence Intelligence Agency and hence, he is just not holidaying… mind it! Post being witness to a bomb blast, he unearths a dangerous plan set up by the leader of a terrorist group (model Freddy Daruwala) who works through ‘sleeper cells’ which means any common man having a problem with the Government irrespective of religion can be a potential terrorist.
‘Holiday’ could have been an edge-of-the-seat thriller had there been no songs or romantic angle. The main plot of the film is fairly engrossing and there are a couple of scenes which really stand out. Take for example the scene a little before intermission – our soldier hero with his team of army men following twelve sleeper cells planning twelve bomb blasts in the city. Even the climax is filmed really well, benefiting a lot because of Akshay Kumar’s terrific action stunts. There are a few other good scenes too but the impact is diluted because of the meaningless and irritating love angle thrown in. Perhaps, Murugadoss wanted to balance a love story with light moments and an action thriller but fails terribly at it. The lead heroine appears on screen only when she wants to shake a leg with the hero or manipulate him to kiss her; by the end of it, so fed up are you that you pity the girl for not being kissed. Music by Pritam is tuneless. Don’t know what’s wrong with him these days. At nearly three hours, ‘Holiday’ ends up being a drag.
Akshay Kumar is in terrific form if we talk about action and does well in a role which doesn’t allow him to be loud and ridiculous like the ones he is known for. It isn’t a ‘Special 26’ but the superstar can still choose movies like this to those so-called readymade blockbusters. His fans should love him here and the climax should have them bowled over. Sonakshi Sinha is going from poor to worse with each film she does (barring that gem called ‘Lootera’) and one may wonder what makes her choose the roles she does – is it because she is insecure of delivering a success if she isn’t in a big film with a star? Freddy Daruwala doesn’t really work well as the villain. He can’t emote and even if that isn’t important, he doesn’t come up as a powerful menace. Murugadoss could have cast Vidyut Jamwal (‘Force’, ‘Commando’) who played the same role in the original. Sumeet Raghavan hams. It’s a pity to see Govinda so shamelessly wasted in a meaningless cameo and neither is his comic timing in place. A special mention for the dog who teams up so well with Akshay Kumar; the star’s next release ‘It’s Entertainment’ has a dog in an important role.
Watch it or not: Akshay Kumar fans will not be disappointed at all though they might just miss his over-the-top histrionics and dialogue-baazi. Others can watch it if they aren’t expecting a fast-paced racy thriller. ‘Holiday’ does have its moments.
At the Box-Office: It’s the next superstar biggie this year after ‘Jai Ho’ which crawled and reached 100 crore somehow. This year isn’t really raining blockbusters. After ‘2 States’, can we expect ‘Holiday’ to be the third one in the club this year? Well… Akshay Kumar’s last three releases didn’t really do too well. Reviews for ‘Holiday’ will be mixed and the opening should be good enough… to the tune of 35-40 crores by the first weekend. Yes; it should cross 100 crores but won’t do it too soon. The next big release is on 20th June – ‘Humshakals’.
My Verdict: Going on this holiday is like a fake promise; you were told there would be a lot of thrilling adventure sports but you end up sitting on a beach watching paragliding.