Sonakshi Sinha, Konkana Sen Sharma, Anurag Kashyap, Amit Sadh
A. R. Murugadoss
A. R. Murugadoss
Very few Hindi films lean entirely on their female protagonist to take them forward, sans the typical song and dance milieu and the quintessential ‘Hero’. And, of course, only a handful of them succeed in their attempt to engage the audiences from start to end.
Akira is one of those few films, which grabs your attention from the very first scene and keeps you hooked on till the end. Kudos to director AR Murugadoss who has empowered his heroine as no action-genre director before him ever has, and delivered a very intriguing premise of a woman who is capable of taking care of herself. The film, which is a Hindi remake of the Tamil hit – Mouna Guru, kick-starts with Akira (Sonakshi Sinha) being held at a gunpoint and quickly draws you into its plot as it begins its back-story.
It is revealed that Akira is trained in martial arts since childhood for self-defense, thanks to her sensible father (Atul Kulkarni). She has even stood up to an acid attacker and has spent three years in a remand home for pouring acid on his face. Fourteen years later, a studious Akira is uprooted from her small town life and forced to go come to Mumbai with her brother and mother.
And this is where all the action begins. We are introduced to the antagonist of the film – a joint-rolling, eccentric, wicked, cold-blooded ASP Rane (Anurag Kasyap) and his sidekicks. The film gets better as it goes along establishing its characters and unraveling its plot. Rane and his three cronies have laid their hands on a bagful of moolah by killing a half-dead road accident victim. While the smartass cop thinks he has cleared all the evidence he creates a blunder and leaves behind some strong evidence. Akira accidently gets embroiled into all this and now the four police officers are after her life. How she battles them and proves herself innocent forms the crux of this gripping action-thriller.
With Akira, it’s clear that Murugadoss’ intention was to make a comment on women empowerment. Well, and he manages to do that without trying too hard, not just through his leading lady but also with the presence of a very active, no-fuss, pregnant police officer Rabiya (Konkona Sen Sharma). The director deftly portrays her as a competent woman who can take care of herself and is not restrained in any way because of her pregnancy. Then there is a brief scene where girls who are acid attack victims are urged to smile and the film also highlights the necessity of self-defense training for girls. Murugadoss successfully advocates his thoughts throughout the film without getting too preachy.
That apart, he has also skillfully packaged the film in such a way that it immerses you completely in its plot. It is one of those films where everything works together and in the favor of the film — Actors, scenery, music, story, dialogues, action, cinematography, suspense, back-story etc.
Casting undoubtedly is the highlight of the film. Akira is not your weepy little typical bimbo, but has a strong personality and Sonakshi Sinha effortlessly owns the character. She is fierce, capable and appealing. Her kicks are kickass!
Anurag Kashyap surprises you with his acting skills. Sonakshi had mentioned in her interview to us at Bollywood Film Fame Canada that, “He is the perfect antagonist to my protagonist.” And she was so damn right. The director wows you with his crazy antics onscreen; the man should be in front of the camera more often.
Then you have Konkona Sen, who as usual is impressive. Atul Kulkarni has a brief role but does full justice to it, so does Amit Sadh.
Action sequences are brilliantly staged and the screenplay is tight, engaging and entertaining.
Overall, this action thriller with a strong female protagonist—one that doesn't stand around waiting to be saved by a hero (and we love that) — packs a punch that shouldn’t be missed. This is a must watch!