Martial artist Tiger Shroff, coming off his debut in Heropanti, stars in this follow-up in which the finale truly lifts off a particular Indonesian action film and has scenes influenced from other films.
Siya, a young actress, has been kidnapped by Raghav, a martial artist who holds illegal fight clubs because he wants to force Siya to marry him. The director, very upset with the loss of his latest star, asks her father to find someone who can rescue him. Siya’s father, aspiring actor and producer PP Khurrana, knows someone who has the ability to rescue her. That man is Ronny, a martial artist himself who has despite saying he hated her, has never stopped loving her.
The events that has lead up to this moment include Ronny’s first meeting with Siya on a train, where he sees her obsession with the rain. Ronny heads to a martial arts academy to learn the Indian art of Kalaripattayu under the school’s master Guruswamy. Guruswamy was once a friend of Ronny’s father, who before his death, saw Ronny becoming a rebel who starts fights with no reason. In a letter, Guruswamy has been asked to teach Ronny about self-discipline. At first, Ronny doesn’t take the training seriously but finally sees himself mastering the art. Meanwhile, his constant run-ins with Siya eventually blossom into love for each other. However, Guruswamy’s son Raghav also has feelings for Siya and intends to marry her. Using his influence, Raghav convinces Siya’s father to have him marry her but Siya is truly is love with Ronny. When Siya’s father realizes his mistake when it’s too late, Ronny heads to Thailand to face Raghav in the ultimate showdown. However, before he can get to Raghav, he has his gang to face in a multi-floored apartment building.
The film’s title Baaghi, translates to “rebel” and film meshes martial arts action film with romance quite well. The film’s leads, Tiger Shroff and Shraddha Khan, truly are the driving force of the film as the former childhood classmates have pretty good chemistry together. Shroff, the son of Bollywood icon Jackie Shroff, plays Ronny first as an arrogant fighter who undergoes a change as he not only falls in love, but undergoes self-discipline as a martial arts master with real-life Kalaripattayu master Shifuji Shaurya Bharadwaj breaking out as the mentor and father figure to Ronny. Telegu actor Sudheer Babu makes his Bollywood debut in a wonderful role as the film’s antagonist, the very deadly and cruel Raghav, who goes to great lengths to get what he wants.
The film’s script, written by Sanjeev Datta, brings in action and training sequences that are influenced by other well-known action films. For instance, some of Ronny’s comic relief in training comes from the likes of Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow. Parts of a chase scene and Ronny’s fight against Ron Smoorenburg are obviously inspired by Ong-Bak and with good reason as Thai action director Kecha Khamphadee was a protégé of the legendary Panna Rittikrai, who choreographed Ong-Bak. Then, comes the controversial finale of the film.
That’s right. The film caused some major controversy when the trailer revealed that part of the film was lifted by The Raid: Redemption, the Indonesian action thriller that pits a SWAT team against a criminal hiding in an abandoned building with the criminal offering rewards to anyone who can kill the SWAT team. As a Bollywood producer earned the remake rights to that film, the trailer prompted a lawsuit from both the remake’s producer and the original film’s producers citing copyright infringement. However, Baaghi’s production companies won the lawsuit when it was revealed that while the film copies an idea from that film, it’s not enough to warrant that the film directly lifts the original film. Yet there are some similarities in the choreography in section between The Raid and this film. The final showdown could have come off a little better and feels a bit rushed. Perhaps it is because by then the film is already just over 120 of its 133-minute running time.
Baaghi starts out pretty well thanks to the chemistry of its two leads and while it does have influence and similarities in its action sequences, the final showdown is a bit of a letdown due to its rushed effect. Yet ultimately, it is not too bad of a film.
WFG RATING: B-
UTV Motion Pictures presents a Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment production. Director: Sabir Khan. Producer: Sajid Nadiadwala. Writer: Sanjeev Datta. Cinematography: Binod Pradhan. Editing: Manan Sagar.
Cast: Tiger Shroff , Shraddha Kapoor, Sudheer Babu, Shifuji Shaurya Bharadwaj, Sourav Chakraborty, Sunil Grover, Sanjay Mishra, Aryan Prajapati, Patrick Kazu Tang, Ron Smoorenburg.