Pintu Shukla (Arjun Kapoor), is an arrogant athlete who inadvertently rescues and ends up sheltering a young woman, Radhika (Sonakshi Sinha), from the unwanted advances of political gangster Gajender Singh (Manoj Bajpayee), a man who apparently doesn’t understand the concept of unrequited love. Unfortunately, folks, this is the entire film in a nutshell, give or take a few songs and action sequences. The rest of the movie lazily plods along to its predictable conclusion, content with accomplishing very little in 157 minutes and in reducing the majority of its supporting cast to nothing more than stereotypical props.
For the uninitiated, a large majority of Bollywood films, including Tevar, fall into the genre of masala entertainment, otherwise known as potboilers. Loud, crass, insipid films that do little more than provide fast food entertainment through the use of over-the-top violence and hackneyed plots, featuring the obligatory damsel in distress and larger than life hero clichés. Although Indian cinema has made attempts to move away from such films, it’s to the detriment of critics, and audiences who possess some common sense, that the Bollywood industry still manages to release a few dozen every year. The latest craze of remaking successful South Indian films in order to replicate their success in Bollywood hasn’t helped, Tevar itself being the fourth remake of Okkadu (2003) – the original Telugu film which has previously been remade in Tamil, Kannada and Bengali!
Yet Tevar’s biggest crime isn’t the genre that it belongs to, but the fact that the makers could have done so much better had they tinkered with the plot some more. Unfortunately, as with all recent South Indian remakes, everyone involved appears too scared to disturb any aspect of the film that may have led to the original becoming such a huge blockbuster. As a result, it feels extremely dated as it blindly follows the original 12-year-old movie, without adding anything remotely original to compensate for the fact that similar films with the same plot have been done to death numerous times between 2003 and now.
Acting-wise, Kapoor and Sinha make for a bad pairing. The two share little chemistry, not helped by their inexperience, nor by the fact that the script doesn’t allow any genuine interaction between them; rather, it appears as if Kapoor’s requirements were to act self-absorbed and Sinha’s to merely ogle Kapoor during the action scenes and look pretty. But in case she didn’t provide enough eye candy, the director has also thrown in a mediocre song and dance number with Shruti Haasan as a backup. Yet despite all these shortcomings, it should come as no surprise to Bollywood fans that the real star of the show is the ever-reliable Manoj Bajpayee, who fleshes out his character with such relish that, even with so little to work with, he manages to carve out a memorable turn in a forgettable film.
If Bollywood potboilers are your bread and butter, then you will savour this movie. However, if you’re looking for something with a little more substance then this is definitely one to avoid.
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