|War, starring Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff (more on Wikipedia)|
When I was told it is an action film and is a story of a spy, I had my doubts - I mean look at Bard of Blood and Family Man. But sometimes you have to do things that you may not want to. And to be honest, while I went for it very reluctantly (an understatement) but I must admit that I enjoyed watching it. I think War probably marks the coming of age for Bollywood action flicks.
Having said that, as a writer, there are a few things that I need to talk about that I could not digest. Please note that there are spoilers ahead. Please read ahead only if you have seen the movie. And if you plan to, please do not read from here on.
So, in the movie, you learn that the person betraying the country is someone from the team itself (as always is). But the traitor has been able to avoid detection because he has taken the face (plastic surgery) and tone (vocal cord modulation) and mannerisms (I don't know how) of another soldier that has died previously.
Now, the thing is, the tool of plastic surgery and vocal cords modulation is one of the laziest things you can ever use to spring surprises and suspense.
If you are a detective, you BETTER work hard to solve the case. You are a superhero, goddamit! Agreed that in the film the lead spy was flummoxed by this plastic surgery and all that. But what did I do to
And more importantly, the audience needs to work hard alongside the detective. It is as important for the audience to solve the case alongside, as it is for the spy. People watch movies (or read books) because when they watch or read, in their heads they are living extraordinary lives (of the spy) that they can never live otherwise.
And finally, as the creator of the story, you better work HARDER to create a mystery that your readers / viewers can solve alongside. It is what gives them release. It is what will make them go wow. This release that the audience gets made Sherlock great. And Poirot. And Reacher. And almost all the detectives / sleuths / spies that we have come to love over the years.
Of course, they go wow when they see all those thousands of abs scattered around. But you are not making an eye-candy flick. It's a spy film!
The other issue I have with the story is that the character of Tiger Shroff did not get his due.
In the entire first half of the film, he is shown as a person that is struggling, literally dying, to prove that he is a true patriot. And he wants to redeem himself and his mother for the things that his father did.
And the let down is that he is killed without him even getting a chance to get what he seeks! I mean, how DARE you kill a character like that like that?
Like that one - you did so much hard work to build a character and tell us about his wants and likes and all that. I want to fall in love with the character. I want to cry when he dies. In my case, I was laughing because of the frivolity of the plot.
Like that two - you invested so much time in building it and so much effort in creating his story and all that. And then you just killed him, just like that. And you gave him almost zero shot at redemption! Why would you do that?
In a story, you do NOT create a character and tell me what he wants and then do NOT take that character to a place where he gets what he's wanted all along. Of course in the pursuit of his "want", the character may fail (Joker failed to get what he wanted) but he has to die fighting and as the audience, I need to be a part of his struggle. I need to feel for him. Feel happy that he did or did not reach there. Feel sad that he could not reach there.
In #war, he just died. Like died without even putting up a fight. And the worst part? His last act before he died was insubordination. I mean is that great last memory of the second most important character in the story?
So yeah. That's it.
Phew. I feel lighter now that I have written this.
Of course, I am absolutely ok with creating eye-candy and with leaving logic behind. No doubt that the film is an absolute treat to watch. It has everything that a Bollywood fan may want. In fact, I would love to make films like that. But then this is very close to the kind of stories I write. And thus I had to speak my mind.
And in the end, I must mention that each piece I write where I critique the work of others must be read alongside this disclaimer by Anton Ego. Read is here.
PS: Even though I am one-half of the TheRedSparrow, this post has been written in my personal capacity.