The idea of a Hindi film heroine as an ass-kicking action star feels refreshing yet somehow timely and appropriate. But Akira, directed by AR Murgadoss is no Kill Bill. In fact, it’s like a Sunny Deol film from the 90s except that it fails to connect emotionally, and the social commentary is lost amidst all the over-plotting. Crucially though, Sonakshi Sinha, who makes an earnest attempt to deliver blows like it’s second nature to her, just doesn’t cut it as a martial arts expert.
She plays Akira, a young girl from Jodhpur, trained early on in self-defense, who gets to put her fighting skills to the test when she moves to Mumbai and becomes accidentally embroiled in an elaborate cover-up by a group of corrupt cops. Anurag Kashyap is terrific as ACP Govind Rane, the scumbag leader of this group and the mastermind behind a major theft and multiple murders.
This remake of a 2011 Tamil film has so many wheels turning all at once, it’s positively head-spinning. The dense plot is packed with contrivances, and Murgadoss throws way too many characters into the mix. The film’s first half has potential, but post interval the action shifts to a mental asylum, and logic and common sense quickly goes out of the window. Akira is presented to us as a battering ram of sorts who can vanquish an army of bad guys even while heavily drugged. It’s never entirely convincing, even though there is some pleasure to be had in watching Sonakshi go all ‘Rowdy Rathore’ on her rivals.
When her fists aren’t doing the talking, Sonakshi is all cold hard stares and solemn brooding. The film never allows her to have fun with the part, and that’s a real shame. Konkona Sensharma, as a pregnant police officer committed to unearthing the truth, suffers on account of a half-baked part, and Anurag Kashyap’s Rane doesn’t get nearly as much screen time in the second half as he deserves.
Kashyap’s performance, in fact, may be the best thing in Akira, which is no doubt a brave attempt to recast the mould. But built on a weak script that’s sorely lacking in subtlety and nuance, the film is ultimately a bore. I’m going with a generous two out of five.