There's an overdose of masala films. And practically all prominent names have featured in masalathons this year. Take a look: SRK [CHENNAI EXPRESS], Ranbir Kapoor [BESHARAM], Ajay Devgn [HIMMATWALA], Akshay Kumar [BOSS], Sanjay Dutt [ZILA GHAZIABAD, POLICEGIRI], Sunny Deol [SINGH SAAB THE GREAT] and Saif Ali Khan [BULLETT RAJA]. Sadly, most of these films were shown the red flag by cineastes, which prompted the cynics to believe that it's the end of the road for the 1980s-styled formula films. But there's also the school of thought that strongly feels that masala entertainers will never go out of fashion. The good ones will work, the awful ones will bite the dust...
Prabhu Dheva revived the masala genre in Bollywood with WANTED, triggering off a plethora of entertainers subsequently. Not deviating from what he re-introduced to the audiences, Prabhu Dheva has fruitfully crafted and churned out desi entertainers one after the other. This time, the actor-choreographer-director teams up with Shahid Kapoor to narrate a story that's set [once again] in the countryside. The only difference is, R... RAJKUMAR is *not* a remake of a South Indian hit, like Prabhu Dheva's previous endeavors.
Curiously, a few weeks ago, Shahid Kapoor teamed up with Rajkumar Santoshi for an entertainer [PHATA POSTER NIKLA HERO] and many a people are drawing parallels between that film and this one [R... RAJKUMAR]. Not true! Now to the next question: Is it a replica of a standard masala film or there's more to it? More significantly, how compelling is Shahid in the masala space? Does he look persuasive and convincing enough, rattling mass-friendly dialogues and bashing up dozens of rogues like we swat flies? Let's find out...
Rajkumar [Shahid Kapoor], who works for a drug dealer Shivraj [Sonu Sood], is entrusted the task of eliminating the rival drug dealer [Ashish Vidyarthi]. Prior to that, he eyes Chanda [Sonakshi Sinha] and falls head over heels in love with her. Rajkumar is unaware that Vidyarthi happens to be Chanda's uncle. In the meantime, Shivraj too falls for the charms of Chanda. He makes peace with Vidyarthi and expresses the desire to marry Chanda. The battle lines are drawn...
Masala entertainers are all about compelling the spectators to believe in the super-hero qualities of the protagonist. He has to be an all-rounder actually: emote, romance, sing, dance and flex muscles, when required. Prabhu Dheva has been serving us the staple dish, albeit in new avatars and modifications, successfully. Much like his last outing RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA, Prabhu Dheva emphasizes on romance yet again in R... RAJKUMAR, with action being the icing on the cake. And while positioning it as a romantic fare, Prabhu Dheva also packages light moments aplenty and chart-busting music to make R... RAJKUMAR a wholesome entertainer.
While R... RAJKUMAR has everything that the hoi polloi looks for in atypical mass entertainers, the problem lies in the fact that there being an overdose of masala films, one can actually foresee what's in store next. The story is done to death, the screenplay is far from inventive and everything seems conventional. Sure, a few moments do keep you glued and hooked to the proceedings, but the waferthin plot and lackluster screenplay plays spoilsport.
Another reason why R... RAJKUMAR falls like a pack of cards is the casting. Although Shahid Kapoor has genuinely acted well, placing him in the same zone as Salman Khan [DABANGG] and Akshay Kumar [ROWDY RATHORE] looks far from convincing. Making him battle an army of villains, led by Sonu Sood and Ashish Vidyarthi, and reducing them to pulp looks completely far-fetched even in the masala scenario. In short, Shahid is at home when he has to sing songs and romance Sonakshi, but looks far from convincing when he has to act as a super-hero.
Prabhu Dheva has always excelled in the masala genre and that's the reason why he's labeled the king of entertainers, but a feather-light concept and predictable goings-on act as dampeners. Like I stated earlier, a few sequences/moments do manage to keep you attentive, but they're few and far between. One swallow does not a summer make! Dialogues too are serviceable, with a few clever lines integrated in the narrative.
Pritam delivers a chartbusting score. 'Gandi Baat', 'Saree Ke Fall Sa' and 'Mat Maari' are catchy and the first two songs especially have already caught the fancy of listeners. But 'Kaddu Katega' appears reminiscent of the item song in ROWDY RATHORE ['Aa Re Pritam Pyaare'], while the romantic track ['Dhokha Dhadi'] is plain average. Action sequences, though executed well and high on energy, fall in the same mould as the ones we have watched in scores of masala entertainers.
Shahid Kapoor gets to portray a mass-friendly character and he gives it his best shot. He's an exceptional dancer and emotes very well too, but, like I pointed out earlier, he looks far from real when it comes to fighting an army of villains. Sonakshi Sinha seems to be getting repetitive and needs to reinvent herself. Ditto for Sonu Sood, who plays the mandatory villain without much of an effort.
Asrani is just about okay. Ashish Vidyarthi plays the evil uncle to perfection. Mukul Dev is passable. Srihari doesn't get ample scope.
On the whole, R... RAJKUMAR doesn't work. It is Prabhu Dheva's weakest Hindi film to date!