The last scene before the interval of Holiday A Soldier is Never Off Duty shows a tele-conversation between the hero (Akshay Kumar) and the villain (Farhad). The villain threatens to kill the hero as soon as they meet. The hero, stylishly tilting his head to his right, says, "I am waiting." I could have clapped and whistled for the way it was done. But then, I had already seen the exact same scene in the original Thuppaki. Except that the hero in the Tamil film, Vijay, tilts his head toward the left.
Remakes have often drawn complains about lack of original content. I am not averse to them. But it certainly is only worthy if the filmmaker decides to bring in some novelty. Why remake a film else?
HASINOD could pass off if it was shot alongside Thuppakki, like Mani Ratnam's Raavan where both Tamil and Hindi version were shot simultaneously. Except this one comes two years too late. Hence all it becomes is a film which has been reshot with a few different actors in the same locations. So we have exactly the same shots, same dialogues - merely translated into Hindi and in some cases even the same actors!
In an age where content is so easily available, could I not watch a Hindi dubbed Thuppakki?
Do not get me wrong. As a standalone effort HASINOD is not a bad film. It does have its drawbacks, but as a remake of a super-hit Thuppakki, it stands on firm ground when it comes to the story. This is the story of an army guy who is on a vacation. But situations demand that he gets to work even when not in his uniform, as he finds a group of terrorists trying to create havoc in Mumbai city. And while he systematically takes them out there are also a fair number of lighter moments which keep the audience entertained.
The screenplay is cleverly drafted keeping the thrill going with regular doses of laughter and romance. The first half does stretch by quite a bit. It almost runs to one and half hours for a film which is 160 minutes long. The second half moves swift with loads of action. The scene where Akshay leads the team of 12 army-men to finish of as many members of a sleeper cell who are on their way to plant bombs across Mumbai is high adrenalin stuff. Also the climax builds a lot of anticipation and is executed well. The director could have polished off the last five minutes, which suddenly makes the film appear stretched. The entire tribute to army could have easily fit into the end-credits.
There are a couple things changed for the better in this remake. For one, they have removed two scenes that have reduced the length by ten minutes. And of course, a bigger Sonakshi Sinha playing a boxer is far believable than a delicate Kajal Agarwal playing one.
Talking about casting, Akshay does look good and performs in his limitations - considering he is guided by what Vijay had done in the Thuppakki. But you got to give it to the actor for looking as fit at almost 47! Farhad (earlier known as Freddy Daruwala) is good, but in comparison to Vudyuth Jamwal is not quite as menacing. Especially towards the climax when he needs to look dangerous and almost capable of getting the better of the Akshay. Sumeet Raghavan, playing the hero's bestie, will make you smile with his comic timing.
The technical aspects of the film are as good as the Tamil version. Director AR Murugadoss would not have it any other way. The songs do not match up to the film. For once Pritam seems to have come up with a score that does not impress.
The bottom-line is if you have watched Thuppakki you might not find this remake anything to be excited about. But if you have not, Holiday A Soldier is Never Off Duty is a fair watch. Like I mentioned in the first paragraph, there are at least a couple of scenes which will leave you pleased.
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