Akira promises but fails in execution

MUMBAI: Akira ventures into the woman-oriented action genre where few have dared to tread. There have only been a few films where a woman lawperson takes on the underworld, with Dimple Kapadia, Vijayashanti, Rani Mukerjee et al. The trend has been more popular with the southern filmmakers.

In Akira, the remake of a Tamil film, Mouna Guru, there is a sort of role reversal in that, Sonakshi Sinha, playing the protagonist, Akira, gets into a situation where she is pitted against a bunch of corrupt, unscrupulous policemen led by Anurag Kashyap.

Kashyap is corrupt to the core and does all the unlawful things he is actually supposed to stop. He drinks while on duty, smokes weed and randomly kills footpath dwellers with his rash driving. He is the typical South brand of evil film baddie. Kashyap is smart enough not to dirty his own hands and makes the three stooges under his command in the force pull the trigger when needed.

Sonakshi is introduced in the film with the meaning of her name, Akira is derived from Sanskrit and mostly used as a girl’s name in Indian languages. The word denotes Graceful Strength. And, to live up to her given name, she is enrolled into a martial art institution by her deaf and mute schoolteacher father, Atul Kulkarni.

A mentally tough Sonakshi moves to Mumbai where her brother works. Seeing that her bhabhi is not comfortable with her presence, Akira decides to stay at the school hostel. Here, as happens in all schools in films, she meets with a hostile group which likes to torment and rag freshers. Having had enough of the bunch, Akira takes them on. This part consumes unnecessary footage in the film just to demonstrate Sonakshi’s prowess with martial arts and toughness.. And that she won’t take injustice.

Kashyap and his cronies come across a big cache of money from the car of an accident victim. Their greed takes over and instead of taking the dazed accident victim to a hospital, Kashyap speeds up his demise by hitting him with a jack. So far so good since Kashyap is adept at wiping his footprints. But, unknown to him, his paramour shoots a video of Kashyap discussing the crime with his stooges.

The handycam is stolen and finally ends up at the door of the hostel room of Sonakshi. The typical south brand scheming and plotting start from here as Sonakshi goes through all sorts of torture and deterrents to keep her from leaking the content of the video. She is consigned to a mental asylum while her family as well as friends are convinced that she has lost her sanity. So much so that Sonakshi is totally isolated, with just about everybody believing in her traits and ailment.

As the film deals with all this drama, it loses its main purpose of showing a strong woman protagonist. It borrows heavily from old films when it comes to props and ploys as per the convenience of the next scene. Even her martial arts background becomes secondary and gets very limited exposure in the climax.

Akira has a grossly depressing story. It is a crime story the likes of which you watch on crime-based TV serials on a regular basis, but stretched beyond comfort with not an iota of relief from the negativity. Direction has an all-South touch and is predictable, the director AR Murugadoss’ record of Hindi hits, Ghajini and Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty besides over a dozen South films, notwithstanding. Songs have no place in the film and, thankfully, they are avoided. Dialogue is routine. Editing is weak.

Sonakshi Sinha does better than her previous films; this being an author backed role. Anurag Kashyap does not have to do much to look evil, otherwise, he does okay. Konkona Sen Sharma is good in a small role. Rest just fill the bill.

Akira has had a poor opening and the word of mouth is not expected to help it pick up either.

Producer: AR Murugadoss.
Director: AR Murugadoss.
Cast: Sonakshi Sinha, Anurag Kashyap, Konkona Sen Sharma, Amit Sadh, Atul Kulkarni.

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