‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’ movie review: Akshay and Tiger jest and joust in this loud and clear mass entertainer

Scene from ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’

This Eid sees a deviation from tradition with no Salman Khan feature gracing our screens. Instead, director Ali Abbas Zafar captures the spirit of Bollywood’s universal appeal with a vibrant action-packed story where style joins hands with substance, as depicted by the leading duo.

Clearly a crowd-pleaser, the film bursts with energy and a meaningful stride beneath its digital façade. It embraces the Bollywood archetype of allies-turned-adversaries, a concept refreshed by Siddharth Anand in ‘Pathaan’, and extrapolates it into the world of artificial intelligence. With deepfakes as its backdrop, the film engages with the diminishing role of humanity amidst advancing tech.

Fred (Akshay Kumar) and Rocky (Tiger Shroff), once valiant servicemen under Commander Azad (Ronit Roy), find themselves ousted due to insubordination. Yet, when an old adversary, Kabir (Prithviraj Sukumaran), presumed dead, surfaces for vengeance, they reconvene to confront the menace of doppelgangers.

Without a doubt, ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’ exudes a grand cinematic presence. It’s akin to an AI-crafted inventive narrative. It’s a familiar route, yet it unfolds delightfully engaging in its first act and captivating post-intermission. Touching on the perfection sought through soulless robots and referencing fighters of all creeds, it sharply criticizes the use of indoctrinated pawns in power plays. The film takes pride in India’s ethos of valuing conscience over mere intellect, providing a fresh departure from propaganda-driven narratives. Zafar broadens the on-screen Indo-Pak rivalry, incorporating China into the mix, painting a picture of how personal agendas, egos, and vendettas can transform individuals into tyrants. Drawing from mythology, likening characters to Eklavya and Karna, it intersperses profound musings amongst the non-stop action.

Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (Hindi)

Director: Ali Abbas Zafar

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Tiger Shroff, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Manushi Chhillar, Alaya F, Sonakshi Sinha, Ronit Roy

Run-time: 158 minutes

Storyline: Two former soldiers, depicted by Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff, reunite to face off against a mysterious foe

Scored by Julius Paickam, BMCM initially presents as an array of action sequences showcasing DNEG’s prowess in indigenous visual effects. The integration of live-action and CGI fluctuates, but the story soon captures the irreverent essence of the 1998 classic starring Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda. An early homage amuses with a nod to the past, connecting it to the current narrative.

Akshay channels his iconic humor, while Tiger Shroff showcases his developing acting range with a touch of self-parody. Loaded with references ripe for internet memes, the film throws jabs at terrorism’s nepotism and critiques the simplistic portrayal of actors. In the clash of muscle versus mind, Manushi Chhillar and Alaya F bring a mix of allure and whimsical dialogue, avoiding reduction to mere decoration. Conversely, Sonakshi Sinha’s brief appearance offers little significance.

Each sentiment is magnified to the utmost, as though emboldened for effect, and despite the indulgent runtime, Zafar keeps us invested with an unexpected twist that reinvigorates the narrative.

Prithviraj Sukumaran arrives in a larger-than-life guise, devouring the scenes with gusto as the antagonist. While his dialogue could benefit from more nuanced delivery, his portrayal of a spurned scientist’s pain resonates authentically.

Geared towards the audience’s enthusiasm, the film embodies the maxim iterated by Azad: intention trumps talent. Yet, a word of counsel for Akshay – it’s time to cultivate an authentic moustache for fictional roles, less the distraction becomes too pronounced.

‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’ is now screening in theaters.

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