Genius Hindi Movie Review

Feature Film
A writer/director launches his son in a story that is so old, it was probably written when he was born. The unremarkable lad is made to sing and dance in the most ridiculous situations and then we have to see him as patriotic action hero. Not even Nawazuddin Siddiqui as campy villain can save this terrible, terrible film.
Aug 24, 2018 By Manisha Lakhe

Anil Sharma's Gadar still plays to TV audiences and makes people raise patriotic fists in the air with reruns. But the patriotic narrative has changed. We have seen Raazi and even Mulk. But this 'will die protecting the flag' style patriotism seems terribly anachronistic. The story of a bright, young lad from IIT being chosen to join RAW and then getting to face off a similar chap gone rogue could have been good. But the story is so entangled it twists around itself and falls flat on its face.

Utkarsh Sharma is best described as unremarkable. As Vasudev Shastri, born in Mathura and orphaned during religious riots, they overdo the Hindu - Krishna - Gita thing during the introduction. You choke over your coffee when you are told he topped IIT and the heroine (Ishita Chauhan, quite fetching in the manner of Hansika Motwani) came second to him. He flirts and she predictably is angry over three or is it four songs which are shot in the style of what could be best described as glorified wedding videos. We know now that the lad cannot dance. Or act like the lovelorn lad. The music by Himesh Reshammiya is fine, but it just doesn't work with the lead pair.

You wonder if the film is going to be all about fantastical claims about how all scientific discoveries were written in ancient Hindu texts. Thankfully, the director remembers that he has to get to the patriotic part and we suddenly see a sanskrit spouting computer geek shooting guns, fighting ninja style (yes, really!) and generally becoming a super agent sent off on a super secret mission.

No, we do not laugh when we see Nawazuddin Siddiqui show up as villain called M.R.S, but we do wonder why is he dressed like he's in the Arctics: Woollen trench coats, Woollen scarves, gloves and hats? But the hero is wearing velvet trench coats and hoodies and gloves too, so you begin wondering if we are going to see Polar bears in Lakshadweep (that's where the action is). The dialog the campy villain has to spout is all about hating that 'Kaalia' (the dark guy) aka the National Security Advisor played by Mithun Chakraborty (complete waste of his talent, you know the role is so rubber-stamp pointless, it could have been played by anyone used to such roles, from Anjan Srivastava to Anant Mahadevan). MRS (nopes, they don't realise that it is not too macho a name for a villain who wants to create a mayhem in India) is written like they just got stuck with the Riddler from Batman. Nawazuddin does not make even an inch of effort except when he begins to dance in the disco. You wake up and wonder if the movie could be going somewhere. But no such luck. There's awful things like a Rubik's cube setting off a bomb (which of course our IIT lad turned RAW agent can fix), Nawazuddin wearing saffron robes and a beard to pass off as a sadhu so he can blow up Mathura...

There's medical stuff that is so mangled you don't know whether to laugh or to put it down to suspension of disbelief: the hero has tinnitus caused by bullet whizzing past his skull, and that is leading to brain damage and schizophrenia. The spy technology is laughable too! The heroine unknowingly wears lenses that have a spy camera that helps hero see whatever she sees and earrings which have microphones to help him hear what she's hearing. You know a man has written this part because she never changes her earrings ever!

Over two hours and forty minutes they tell us again and again that the lad is a 'genius', when he mostly looks Mr. Pitiful.

Manisha Lakhe