Director: Nishikant Kamat
Narcotics, child trafficking, organ trade, drug mafia and brutal killings… Sounds scary and violent? Well, these are elements that add up to form Rocky Handsome. Ergo, don’t expect only guns and goons. The Nishikant Kamat directorial is packed with high dosages of action, real stunts and multiple dark sequences.
And, amid the dark shades stands the silent hero—John Abraham as Kabir Ahlawat aka Rocky Handsome, who single-handedly smashes everyone, everything and every hurdle that comes his way while he sets on a journey to seek vengeance against drug traffickers and organ traders because they kidnapped his eight-year-old neighbour, Naomi, portrayed by Diya Chalwad, and sell every usable organ from her mother, Nathalia Kaur i.e. Ana’s body before murdering her.
The child actor adds the humane factor to the film aptly. For instance, when an upset Diya explains John why she can’t hate him, her expressive eyes, innocent words and tender tears simply make you ignore John’s almost impassive looks and silent act.
Literally, you can count the number of words that John utters in the film. He is a little too quiet and wears the same expression in almost every scene except a few. Yet, his toned body, tough attitude and exceptional fight sequences manage to impress.
Director Nishikant also makes his acting debut in Rocky Handsome. Sporting a bald look and French beard, he intelligently gets into the character of the bad guy Kevin Pereira. Nothing makes it appear like his first performance in front of the camera. He enacts every bit with ease. Similarly, Teddy Maurya as Kevin’s brother, Luke Pereira, makes you truly hate the character. You actually feel relieved when he dies a brutal death. The other villain, Kazu Tang steals the show with his fighting skills, though acting-wise he didn’t offer much.
Strangely, in his supporting role, Sharad Kelkar as Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) officer Sanjay Khapre somehow keeps reminding of his Saavdhan India act. Many other actors, like Suhasini Mulay, have a very small part. Their acts get overshadowed by the main antagonists.
While the film starts on a slow pace and then remains dotted with harsh and barbaric and brutal murders, the director tightly etches the second half. It is gripping and the mayhem continues in full force. Till the last scene, it boggles the mind and makes you cringe every now and then.
However, there are certain flaws—the sudden rainfall as John runs to save the child, the manner in which he survives even after being hurled by bullets and takes it out on his own, the way ANC officers send an email to Barack Obama from John’s email ID in order to get his background details – which could have been avoided or toned down to make the film more real.
Remember Drishyam? Like his last film, Nishikant brings in tricky ATM withdrawals and draws a sequence reflecting how children are exploited by traffickers in their drug businesses which looks complicated and stretched and even gets confusing to an extent.
The focus should have been more on the story and less on action which sadly does not happen. Certain parts also could have been avoided and the violence almost gets into the nerves. John’s past remains guarded which serves no purpose as such.
What surely works for Rocky Handsome, besides the high-octane action and murderous rampage by John and the baddies, is its cinematography. Shanker Raman chisels every scene finely and audience can’t help but remain glued to the screen.
Unlike, the original The Man From Nowhere, there are multiple songs in the film. But, every number takes the track forward and provides a soothing effect in this dark narrative. Nora Fatehi’s special appearance in Rock the party – the club song – is quite stunning. Even the background score when John and Teddy come face-to-face escalates the tension manifold. On the music front, Sunny Bawra and Inder Bawra hit the right spot!
In spite of all the filth, darkness and shrewdness, the film has a soul and you realise it only in the climax. John brilliantly emotes and reflects his agonies and pains, and manages to bring you to tears. Yes! He acts just before the film reaches the end.
And, truly justifying the title, whether fiddling with a knife, performing Aikido or Hapkido or Krav Maga or running around banging bad guys, in the perfectly crafted physique, wearing a black tuxedo, John looks nothing, but ‘handsome’!
Well, Rocky Handsome is a cinematic treat if dark thriller is what pleases you!