Akshay Kumar is back after a long break. He is known for ensuring a film releases every few months, this move has, expectedly, harvested confident reception by the film world as well as the multitude of fans. In his newest outing Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty -the actor teams up with A.R. Murugadoss, who made his Hindi debut with GHAJINI (2008), starring Aamir Khan. While we’re on the subject, Murugadoss too returns to the Hindi film arena after a gap of almost six years. Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty is a remake of the Tamil action-thriller THUPPAKKI starring Vijay and Kajal Aggarwal, which won immense critical praise and reaped a rich harvest at the box-office. Obviously, the expectations are humungous since Murugadoss’ GHAJINI was the first Hindi film to go beyond the Rs 100 crore mark. THUPPAKKI was a tremendously valued and captivating entertainer and evidently ranks amongst Murugadoss’ finest works. Captain Virat Bakshi played by Akshay Kumar, an army man returns home to Mumbai for his holidays. His family takes him to see Sahiba played by Sonakshi Sinha, but he rejects her. Later, on another occasion, he finds out that she is a boxer and is astonished by her character. The story takes a turn when an anti-social activity in the heart of Mumbai city gets him involved into something huge. Being a compatriot and a special agent in the Indian Army, Virat is pulled into a massive network of terrorism. The rest of the story is about his fight against the terrorist network and the abolition of the sleeper cells from the city.
This isn’t a typical Akshay Kumar film that tilts heavily towards humor or has a continuous flow of gags. This one tackles a serious issue of terrorism and how a lone soldier sets out to defeat the gangs that are out to produce chaos in Mumbai. A number of films concentrating on terrorism have made it to the big screen, but Murugadoss merges the grave issue and good old romance [Akshay-Sonakshi] most naturally. Of course, much like the original source, it swings towards the clash amid a soldier and the terror forces; He makes sure he gives the masala movie lovers something more than that. In a majority of entertainers, the screenplay takes a backseat, while the star power takes precedence. Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty comes across as an exclusion because the smartly-packaged fare never loses focus from its core issue with the post-interval portions expanding into race against time thriller mode. Also Murugadoss employs the right tricks to woo the entertainment-seeking spectator and the face-off between good and evil, the hand-to-hand combat, the subtle humour, the nail biting finale is amazing but at the end of the day, the message that the film communicates resounds loud and clear. Expertly filmed and edited by Amitabh Shukla. Though the makers employ Pritam to belt out chart-busting melodies, the soundtrack is plain.
N. Nataraja Subramanian’s camera gives the film scale, while the action sequences, courageous and attractive. Murugadoss refrains from casting over-familiar faces for pivotal characters, choosing actors who aren’t known for featuring in Akshay starrers except Sonakshi . Govinda is controlled in a cameo. Sonakshi Sinha is bubbly and adds in making the actions lively. Sumeet Raghavan is wonderful, unquestionably in sync with his character. Farhad has good screen presence and handles his part with conviction. Zakir Hussain effectively portrays the same part that he essayed in the original. The winner is, without doubt, Akshay Kumar, who reinvents himself with this one. The actor has acted in every possible genre and though the cynics may argue that Akshay keeps repeating himself in film after film, I’d like to remind them of his nuanced act in Special 26 and now Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty. It’s a power-packed depiction, which the actor exemplifies with complete understanding, without going overboard. On the whole, Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty is an amazing action-thriller that keeps you captivated, fascinated and enchanted all through, thanks to its absorbing premise and a unassailable, sharp screenplay. It’s a richly deserved 9/10 from The Bollywood Tempest.