This is no spoiler but directors Raj & DK’s A Gentleman tries to fool you with what appears to be parallel narratives. We are in for the duo’s storytelling language that is famously humorous and edgy. We are also up for a twist that catches us unawares. Still, are we ready for a timeline shift in the narrative wherein the characters don’t change a bit? This is perhaps the only challenge I faced in comprehending the flow of incidents in this rather entertaining action-comedy.
Narrating the story of a boring corporate slave called Gaurav (Sidharth Malhotra) in Miami, A Gentleman establishes its lead man quite effectively. His sundar, susheel ways seem tailor-made for matrimonial portals, making us more curious on what the actual deal is. Add to it an airhead love interest Kavya (Jacqueline Fernandez), the need for him to prove his “risky” ways surmount eventually. Revealing the main twist towards the interval, A Gentleman soon gets predictable leaving Raj-DK to showcase their edgy shot-taking.
Once again proving how they are better at execution than at crafting a coherent screenplay, A Gentleman makes no waves in the story department. With a bucketful of loose ends that the film refuses to address, we also witness the leading lady Kavya execute her trademark blonde humour. She knows how to load a gun (because it’s America!) but is a total noob at shooting – as is the case with her driving. Because women and machismo don’t go together, right? With an accent as anglicized as that, is amusing how Kavya’s mother seems a total stranger to the Queen’s language.
There is also a lead villain who is as unmenacing as Suniel Shetty. Sexier than he ever was, the man prances with his trademark 90s’ smoulder while exuding anything but the vengeance he seeks. Add to the proceedings a careless dose of near-offensive gay humour, you pretty much get the material on papers.
In their most commercial venture so far, Raj and DK package this run-of-the-mill plot onto a sleek, pacy canvas and the result is more entertaining than you thought it would be. Their frame construction, innovating editing tropes plus terrific use of locations and props remain notable as ever. With deft grip over all technical departments, A Gentleman is one of the sleekest Hindi films of 2017. Brownie points for the action choreography and sound design – both of which are truly world class. Ditto for Sachin-Jigar’s background score that lends drama and atmosphere crucial for a rapid narrative as this. Kudos to the team for not remixing a yesteryear track in the karaoke bar scene.
Sidharth Malhotra is well-cast in a part that doesn’t demand much of histrionics but tremendous physical flexibility. Jacqueline Fernandez is getting typecast to a limit that only Johnny Lever from the 90s might compete for. No, I am not even comparing their respective acting talents here. Darshan Kumar is one-note in his deadpan-faced goon act, making us wish the writers had given him a better deal. Supriya Pilgaonkar and Rajit Kapoor appear in hilarious cameos, endearing us as always. The surprise package of A Gentleman, however, is Hussain Dalal as the hysterical Dikshit who shines in every scene that he is in. Special mention to Amit Mistry who is an absolute hoot as the Gujju don in Miami.
No patch on some of Raj & DK’s erstwhile ventures, A Gentleman does reasonable justice to its genre which, in any case, is scarce in Bollywood. Resembling some of Jackie Chan’s hilarious action comedies – that we had fallen madly in love as children – A Gentleman is a passable popcorn fare. If not for anything else, watch it for its technical competence.
Rating: ★★ 1/2