Cast: Aditya Roy Kapur, Disha Patani, Anil Kapoor, Kunel Kemmu
Director: Mohit Suri
In two of his most successful films Aashiqui 2 and Ek Villain, director Mohit Suri gave the audience a love story to root for, and songs that one couldn’t stop humming. That irresistible cocktail somehow powered those frankly average films.
There is both a love story and some good songs in his new thriller Malang. There are also, to be fair, some interesting ideas floating around. But those ideas never come together coherently; they’re lost in a film that is more interested in surface-level stuff.
Advait (Aditya Roy Kapur) and Sara (Disha Patani) meet in Goa. They’re young, they’re good-looking, they’re in pursuit of freedom and adventure. How long before they’re bumping bodies? Those bodies, by the way, are in great shape and Vikas Sivaraman’s camera worships every curve, every bicep with the same love that it reserves for Goa’s scenic beaches.
The film however isn’t likely to do much for Goa tourism. The world of Malang is dark and twisted, and Suri depicts the beach state as a Wasseypur-like badlands with rampant drug use, frequent brutal killings, and widespread corruption in the police force. Think of it as the anti-Dil Chahta Hai.
Advait and Sara’s beach-swept romance is a prelude to a string of bad things that take place. When the body count rises the onus to sniff out the killer and bring him in falls on Agashe (Anil Kapoor), a cocaine-snorting, trigger-happy senior cop with little regard for rules, and Michael (Kunal Kemmu), a righteous officer who prefers to do things by the book.
The twists in Malang are either predictable or far-fetched. One major reveal is given away in the film’s trailer so you can see it coming from a distance. The other is what one would describe as “a bit much”. Suri is interested in themes of revenge, redemption, and especially in the notion of masculinity. That leads to an interesting and bold character reveal, but Malang has little room for complexity so this idea is ultimately squandered.
The film leans on its cast to do what they do best. Aditya Roy Kapur, flaunting a chest that refuses to be contained in shirts, gets multiple opportunities to flex his chiseled pecs. Disha Patani sportingly shows off her perfect toned figure. Kunal Kemmu has some interesting moments, especially the scenes with his wife, played by the reliable Amruta Khanvilkar. But expectedly it’s Anil Kapoor who’s having the most fun. As Agashe, who’s always on edge, the actor is deliciously unpredictable, while also effectively conveying his inner pain when required.
Malang is far too long at nearly 2 hours and 15 minutes. The unconvincing plot simply doesn’t justify the indulgence. There are some moments that work, but by the end, I was wishing I’d stayed home sleeping on my palang rather than waste my time on Malang. I’m going with two out of five.