Review: ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’ (2024), starring Akshay Kumar, Tiger Shroff, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Manushi Chhillar, Alaya F, Sonakshi Sinha and Ronit Bose Roy

April 13, 2024

by Carla Hay

Akshay Kumar, Alaya F, Manushi Chhillar and Tiger Shroff in “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” (Photo courtesy of Yash Raj Films)

“Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” (2024)

Directed by Suraj Gianani

Culture Representation: Taking place in India, China, and Pakistan, the action film “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” (a reboot of the 1998 film of the same name) features a predominantly Asian cast of characters (with some black people and white people) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: Two former Indian Armed Forces fighters and their allies are recruited by the Indian Amed Forces to defeat a mysterious terrorist. 

Culture Audience: “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and action movies that have nothing to offer but loudness and silly fight scenes.

Prithviraj Sukumaran in “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” (Photo courtesy of Yash Raj Films)

“Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” is obnoxiously loud and mindless schlock that drags on for too long with terrible acting and idiotic scenes. There’s no suspense in this formulaic garbage about military agents fighting a terrorist. If you dare to watch this abomination, you might need to wear earplugs to protect the assault on your eardrums from the movie’s aggressively noisy and deafening score soundtrack.

Directed by Suraj Gianani, “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” (which means “big master little master” in Hindi) was written by Gianani and Ali Abbas Zafar. “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” is a reboot of the 1998 film of the same name, with this reboot keeping a few of the story elements from the original film. This bloated 164-minute reboot movie has a ridiculously simple plot that could have been told in a movie with half the runtime. There’s a lot of time-wasting filler scenes that add nothing to the story. The cast members give mostly lousy performances.

In the beginning of “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan,” a military convoy on a northern Himalayan road gets hijacked in a shootout where a “powerful weapon” has been stolen. The movie then shows a scene in a Shanghai cafe, where Captain Misha (played by Manushi Chhillar) from the Indian Armed Forces meets an informant named Chang (played by Kinnar Boruah), who tells her that India has a new friend. Chang adds, “He’s not part of any organization. He desires to change the regime.” Chang then gets shot to death in the cafe, while Captain Misha escapes and returns to India.

It’s soon revealed that this so-called “friend” of India is a mysterious, mask-wearing terrorist named Eklavya (played by Prithviraj Sukumaran), who has been leading a group of other mask-wearing terrorists to wreak havoc in different places in India, China, and Pakistan. Why these three nations? Eklavya’s true identity and motives are later revealed in the movie. Eklavya likes to send taunting video messages before and after he commits acts of terrorism.

Meanwhile, the Indian Armed Forces have recruited two former Indian Armed Forces soldiers to help defeat Eklavya. Akshay Kumar as Captain Firoz, also known as Freddy (played by Akshay Kumar), has a relationship like an older brother to Captain Rakesh, also known as Rocky (played by Tiger Shroff), who were both dishonorably discharged from the Indian Armed Forces for insubordination. Flashback scenes show that Freddy (the smooth-talking “big master”) and Rocky (the cocky “little master”) both got in trouble for a mission where they accomplished their goals, but they didn’t follow orders, and more people were killed than necessary. After being dismissed from the Indian Armed Forces, Freddy worked at an oil mine, while Rocky worked as a firefighter.

Now that Freddy and Rocky have returned to working for the Indian Armed Forces, they set their sights on capturing Eklavya, who seems to know these two wisecracking pals and has a personal grudge. Colonel Adil Shekhar Azad (played by Ronit Bose Roy) is the commanding officer for Freddy and Rocky. Also on the mission are Captain Misha, an information technology specialist named Dr. Parminder “Pam” Bawa (played by Alaya F) and Captain Priya Dixit (played by Sonakshi Sinha), who used to be Freddy’s lover.

“Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” is the worst type of action movie because it takes a potentially interesting plot twist in the story and just turns it into predictable mush. The movie’s dialogue is excruciatingly horrible—especially for Pam, who is supposed to be a technology whiz, but she is made to look like a shallow and immature ditz. Things that are supposed to be funny are cringeworthy. You know the rest: Gun shootouts, bomb explosions, stupid unrealistic stunts. The heroes might survive by the end of the story, but some of your brain cells won’t.

Yash Raj Films released “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on April 10, 2024.

Review: ‘Selfiee,’ starring Akshay Kumar and Emraan Hashmi

March 1, 2023

by Carla Hay

Emraan Hashmi and Neev Ahuja (pictured in front) and Akshay Kumar and Adah Sharma (pictured in background) in “Selfiee” (Photo courtesy of Star Studios)


Directed by Raj Mehta

Hindi with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place primarily in Bhopal, India, the comedy film “Selfiee” (a remake of the 2019 Malayalam-language movie “Driving Licence”) features an all-Indian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A motor vehicle inspector and his 10-year-old son are avid fans of a movie star, but the inspector’s admiration for this celebrity turns to disillusionment and hatred after the two men end up in a bitter public feud. 

Culture Audience: “Selfiee” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and the “Driving Licence” movie, but this remake is a long-winded letdown that lacks the charm of the original movie.

Pictured in front, from left to right: Mahesh Thakur, Akshay Kumar and Meghna Malik in “Selfiee” (Photo courtesy of Star Studios)

For a comedy that’s nearly two-and-a-half hours, “Selfiee” takes way too long to have nothing interesting to say. Emraan Hashmi puts in a good effort to make his character believable. The other cast members just exist in a dull movie with silly gimmicks. “Selfiee” is a remake of the 2019 Malayalam-language movie “Driving Licence,” which is far superior to “Selfiee” in every way.

Directed by Raj Mehta and written by Rishabh Sharma, “Selfiee” takes place primarily in Bhopal, India. It’s where motor vehicle inspector Om Prakash Aggarwal (played by Hashmi), who is called Prakash, lives and works. Prakash and his 10-year-old son Gabbu (played by Neev Ahuja) are avid fans of movie star Vijay Kumar (played by Akshay Kumar), a swaggering celebrity who has millions of admirers. Prakash’s wife Minty Aggarwal (played by Nushrratt Bharuccha) thinks that the fan worship that Prakash and Gabbu have for Vijay is foolish and a waste of time. Minty prefers another movie star named Suraj Diwan (played by Abhimanyu Singh), who started out in the movie business around the same time as Vijay.

Vijay and Suraj used to be roommates before they were famous. However, after becoming celebrities, the careers of Vijay and Suraj went in completely opposite directions. Vijay’s career has soared to the greatest of heights, while Suraj’s career has declined to the point where he is now a has-been who’s doing low-quality movies because he needs the money. Suraj, who is very jealous of his rival Vijay, consults with a psychic named Tara (played by Kusha Kapila) for a tarot card reading to see if his luck or Vijay’s luck will change. Tara tells Suraj that the tarot cards predict that Vijay will have bad luck soon.

It just so happens that Vijay has arrived in Bhopal with great fanfare, because he’s filming scenes for his next movie in Bhopal. These are the final scenes to be filmed for his movie. When Prakash and Gabbu find out that Vijay will be in Bhopal, they rush to the area where Vijay’s helicopter is landing. Several members of the media are also there.

Among a crowd of thousands of cheering and excited fans, Prakash and Gabbu desperately try to get Vijay’s attention as Vijay’s car drives by them. The dream of this father and son is to meet Vijay and get a selfie photo taken with this movie star. Of course, Prakash and Gabbu are just one of numerous fans in the crowd who want the same thing. Vijay is too far away for him to notice Prakash and Gabbu.

When Vijay arrives in Bhopal, he is warmly greeted by Vimla Tiwari (played by Meghna Malik), a somewhat flaky employee who has been hired to be Vijay’s assistant during his stay in Bhopal. Her job is to get Vijay whatever he wants and make sure that his life runs as smoothly as possible while he’s in the city. Vijay is an automobile enthusiast who makes several action movies where he has to race cars and do a lot of other driving.

Vijay has recently found out that his driver’s license has been expired for months, and he’s annoyed that the license renewal wasn’t taken care of by someone who works for him. Vimla has been tasked to quietly get the license renewed in Bhopal without Vijay having to take the required license renewal tests. Vimla goes to the regional transport office where Prakash works, and he happens to be the inspector on duty who takes this request.

Normally, Prakash is an ethical inspector who wouldn’t break the rules. But when he finds out that this special treatment would be a personal favor to Vijay, Prakash agrees to “bend the rules” for Vijay, on the condition that Vijay personally visit the office so that Prakash and Gabbu can meet Vijay and get a selfie photo with him. Vimla says she’ll see what she can do about this request, but she won’t make any guarantees.

Vimla goes to Vijay with this request. Vijay and his sycophantic personal assistant Naveen (played by Mahesh Thakur) look up Prakash on social media and see that he is a die-hard fan of Vijay. When Vijay sees that Prakash is a loyal admirer, Vijay figures that this trip to the regional transport office will go smoothly, because he’ll be easily able to convince Prakash to do what Vijay wants Prakash to do in getting the driver’s license renewed.

Vijay show up at the regional transport office, but he’s surprised and outraged to see that this visit won’t be private after all. His arrival was leaked in advance to the media, which quickly spread the news. By the time that Vijay gets to the office, it’s a chaotic scene with thousands of fans, as well as members of the media, gathered in the hope of seeing Vijay.

To make matters worse, Prakash had put up a banner in the office corridor to welcome Vijay, who sees this banner and automatically assumes it was Prakash who leaked the information about Vijay’s visit. Prakash, Gabbu and several of the office employees are eagerly waiting in a room for Vijay to arrive. But instead of it being a positive experience for everyone, the situation quickly turns into an ugly mess.

Vijay storms into the office and yells at Prakash for telling the media about Vijay’s visit. Vijay calls Prakash an “opportunist” who just wants to use this meeting to become famous. Prakash wanted to give Vijay a wrapped gift, but Vijay takes the gift and throws it angrily on the floor. It’s a humiliating experience for Prakash, who is visibily embarrassed, emotionally hurt and shocked. The rejection makes Prakash and Gabbu tearful and upset.

Meanwhile, the media and other people find out that Vijay had gone to the office to try to renew his driver’s license without taking the required tests. Several people in the media express outrage that Vijay was expecting special treatment. Prakash sees all the negative publicity that Vijay is getting and uses it as an opportunity to get revenge on Vijay. Prakash begins giving media interviews saying that Vijay tried to get Prakash to break the rules for Vijay, but Prakash lies to the media and says that he refused.

Prakash is made to look like the hero in the media’s coverage of this story, while Vijay is made to look like the villain. Several people in the media and the general public also call Vijay a hypocrite because he had been starring in a public service campaign about road safety while he had secretly been driving for months without a valid driver’s license. An incensed Vijay decides to get revenge on Prakash. And so begins a feud between the two men that escalates to ridiculous proportions.

There are some complications to Vijay’s revenge plot. First, he’s under a lot of pressure to finish this movie on time and without going over the movie’s budget. The movie’s producer Sunil Awasthi (played by Sushil Bonthiyal) begs Vijay to get his driver’s license renewed so that the movie can be finished. The final scenes to be filmed for the movie require that Vijay do a lot of driving. Sunil tells Vijay that if the movie isn’t finished on time, the movie will miss its target release date, and Sunil will lose his entire investment in the film.

Second, Vijay and his glamorous wife Naina (played by Diana Penty), who frequently travels with him, are expecting a baby (their first child) via a surrogate, who is in New York City. Vijay and Naina have kept this information very private. Only a few people in their inner circle know. The baby was due the following month. However, certain things happen that cause Vijay and Naina to want to go to New York City during the dates that Vijay is supposed to finish filming his movie.

Third, some hoodlums attack Prakash and his family by throwing rocks through the windows of the family’s house. Gabbu gets a head injury in the attack and is rushed to a hospital for treatment. (This violent incident is shown in the movie’s trailer.) The crime occurred shortly after Vijay and Prakash had an argument over the phone. Prakash assumes that Vijay ordered the attack, so Prakash holds a press conference to publicly accuse Vijay of being the mastermind.

“Selfiee” could have had many clever things to say about the roles that the media and celebrity worship play in people’s perceptions of public figures. However, the movie just dumbs everything down to make it into a bombastic and not-very-believable dispute between two very stubborn and immature people. Vijay comes across a smug and egotistical bully who is much worse than Prakash, but Prakash was the one who made this feud public by lying to the media about the circumstances over Vijay’s driver license renewal.

“Selfiee” has some references to how the media, for better or worse, can shape a celebrity’s public image. However, the movie would have had more substance and been more insightful if it also included some awareness of how Prakash and Vijay were both being used by the media, which fanned the flames of this feud. “Selfiee” ignores the bigger picture of the co-dependent relationship between celebrity worship and media coverage. Instead, “Selfiee” over-relies on a lot of lazy and unimaginative slapstick comedy.

The performances in “Selfiee” are on par with the movie’s uneven screenplay and direction, which are frequently very maudlin and sometimes downright terrible. Kumar doesn’t do anything in the movie that’s very special in playing movie star Vijay, while Hashmi gives a more nuanced performance in depicting Prakash as a “regular guy” who gets caught up in something that he did not expect. The last 15 minutes of the film are the absolute worst, turning what could have been a memorable satire into a mush of cloying garbage.

Star Studios released “Selfiee” in select U.S. cinemas on February 24, 2023.

Review: ‘Ram Setu,’ starring Akshay Kumar, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nushrratt Bharuccha and Satya Dev

October 25, 2022

by Carla Hay

Akshay Kumar in “Ram Setu” (Photo courtesy of Zee Studios)

“Ram Setu”

Directed by Abhishek Sharma

Hindi with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the action film “Ram Setu” features an all-Indian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: An archaeologist gets caught in the middle of protests over a developer’s plans to demolish Ram Setu, a chain of limestone shoals connecting India and Sri Lanka,and the archaeologist is ordered to provide evidence that Ram Setu is a natural formation, not a man-made structure.

Culture Audience: “Ram Setu” will appeal primarily to fans of star Akshay Kumar and archeaological adventure stories with religious overtones, but the movie’s flimsy and dull plot will be a turn-off to viewers who are expecting a more interesting film.

Akshay Kumar in “Ram Setu” (Photo courtesy of Zee Studios)

“Ram Setu” is an example of a movie that thinks it can coast by on some eye-catching cinematography without having a good story. The tedious plot developments are poorly conceived, the performances are mediocre, and the action scenes look very fake. This very disappointing adventure movie throws in some religious preaching, which the filmmakers know could be problematic, because a disclaimer toward the end of the movie reminds viewers that “Ram Setu” is a work of fiction.

Written and directed by Abhishek Sharma, “Ram Setu” aims to rewrite history or make people think differently about the history of the real-life Ram Setu, a chain of limestone shoals connecting India and Sri Lanka. In the beginning of the film, archaeologist Dr. Aryan Kulshrestha (played by Akshay Kumar), who is from India, is leading a desert expedition in Pakistan, where he and his colleagues uncover a buried trunk of precious coins. As soon as these coins discovered, several Jeeps carrying Taliban soldiers swoop in and attack the archaeologist group to steal the coins. Did the Taliban have hidden cameras in the desert for these soldiers to know the exact moment that these coins were found?

After shootouts and explosions, Aryan and his trusty sidekick Anjani Putra, also known as AP (played by Satya Dev, whose real name is Satyadev Kancharana), run away with the trunk of coins and fall down a shaft that leads them to a hidden cave. (It’s one of the movie’s many phony-looking action scenes.) Inside the cave, Aryan and AP find a giant statue of a reclining Buddha. The statue is an extremely rare archaeological treasure.

The first major sign that “Ram Setu” is a sloppily edited film is after Aryan and AP find this statue, the movie never shows how they managed to get out of the cave and elude the Taliban attackers. The next scene cuts to a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, where Aryan is getting praised for discovering this statue. A reporter at the press conference asks Aryan if Aryan thinks that because the statue represents Buddhism, the statue should be returned to India instead of staying in a Muslim-majority country such as Pakistan. Aryan makes a diplomatic answer by saying that he doesn’t get involved in government politics of which country should own archaeological findings.

Whether he likes it or not, Aryan is about to get involved in some divisive issues regarding politics, business and religion. Soon after his major discovery of the Buddhist statue, Aryan returns to India, where he is promoted to lord-general of the Archaelogical Society of India. Aryan thinks his life is going smoothly until he gets caught in the middle of a big controversy that is dividing India’s people.

The Indian government’s Sethusamudram Project wants to demolish Ram Setu, in order to make way for a man-made shipping route. It’s this movie’s reference to the real-life Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, which involves the creation of a long deep-water channel linking the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar, for a length of about 51.7 miles or 83.2 kilometers. In real life, the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project was approved by the Indian government in 2005, under a plan that would not destroy Ram Setu.

In the “Ram Setu” movie, the project has not yet been approved. People have been protesting the project because they believe that Hindu deity Lord Shri Rama built Ram Setu, and therefore Ram Setu should not be demolished. In other words, the protesters believe destroying Ram Setu is a sacrilegious act.

Aryan is happily married to a fellow scientist named Professor Gayatri Kulshrestha (played by Nushrratt Bharuccha), who isn’t afraid to disagree with him. Aryan privately comments to Gayatri about the Ram Setu controversy, by saying that he thinks this matter is a land dispute. Gayatri sassily responds that it’s a matter of faith and says, “Your job is to dig up graves, not questioning the faith of people.”

Aryan’s refusal to take the side of the protesters makes him very unpopular with many members of the public who want to label Aryan as immoral, so he gets suspended from the Archaeology Society of India. (It’s a very unrealistic aspect of the plot.) His reputation takes a nosedive to the point where his career could be permanently damaged.

Aryan also gets roughed up by unidentified men outside of a hotel where Aryan had a speaking engagement. The face makeup depicting Ayan’s facial injuries is absolutely horrible and amateur-looking. Instead of bruises, it looks like black shoe polish was smeared on his face. The film’s continuity is also sloppy because the facial injuries look very different in scenes that are only supposed to take place a few hours apart.

Aryan’s unpopularity has a negative effect on Kabir Kulshreshtha (played by Anngad Raaj), the son of Aryan and Gayatri. Kabir, who’s about 8 or 9 years old, gets verbally taunted at school by another boy, who insults Kabir about Aryan. This conflict leads to Kabir getting into a physical fight with the boy. An emergency meeting in held with school officials, the boys and their parents. Kabir is told by the school principal that if he gets into this type of trouble again, he will be expelled.

The dispute over Ram Setu eventually reaches India’s judicial system. In a courthouse scene, a judge declares that the government must provide proof that Ram Setu is a natural formation, not a man-made structure, in order for the Sethusamudram Project to be approved by the court. Shortly after this ruling, Aryan is contacted by a wealthy mogul named Indrakant Varma (played by Nassar), who is the leader of Pushpak Shipping, a company that stands to benefit if Ram Setu is demolished by the Sethusamudram Project. Indrakant wants to hire Aryan to prove that Ram Setu is a natural structure, but Aryan declines the offer.

But Aryan get is coerced into working for Indrakant anyway on a sea station called the Pushpak Alpha Floating Lab. It’s a futuristic operation headed by project manager named Mr. Bali (played by Pravesh Rana), who introduces Aryan to the rest of the crew. Aryan’s new colleagues include Dr. Chandra (played by Ramakant Dayma), Dr. Sandra Rebello (played by Jacqueline Fernandez), Professor Andrew (played by Zachary Coffin) and Dr. Gabrielle (played by Jeniffer Piccinato).

Aryan gets a hi-tech underwater suit called Makar, which has robot hands that look like leftovers from the robot in the original “Lost in Space” series. Mr. Bali says to Aryan about putting on the Makar suit: “You’ll be flying underwater like Iron Man.” To its credit, “Ram Setu” has some underwater scenes that look visually appealing.

However, people with basic knowledge of deep sea diving will be cringing at how the movie portrays these explorers being in a ship underwater without wearing underwater suits or oxygen tanks and with no realistic references to underwater pressure that increases the deeper someone goes underwater. Haven’t these people heard of getting decompression sickness? And when Aryan goes diving in the Makar suit, his head looks like a computer-generated visual effect that was inserted, not a real person in the suit. In other words, the science fiction in “Ram Setu” is unconvincing.

The scientists at the Pushpak Alpha Floating Lab quickly determine that if they can prove that Ram Setu is more than 7,000 years old (before Lord Rama existed), then it would prove that Lord Rama did not create Ram Setu. The movie has a bunch of nonsense about a yellow rock that is supposed to be proof of Ram Setu’s age. AP eventually comes along for the ride. And people with various agendas end up chasing this group of Pushpak explorers.

“Ram Setu” has some references to British colonialism’s erasure of Indian history and has some obvious messages about Indians needing to reclaim Indian history from a Eurocentric point of view. (Ram Setu is also known as Adam’s Bridge.) But all this messaging about Indian historical pride is cheapened when the movie is so badly constructed, it insults viewers’ intelligence.

Some of the chase scenes have tension, but what happens in between this action is often dreadfully dull. The acting performances from all of the cast members are unremarkable or forgettable. “Ram Setu” makes a sharp detour toward the end that is supposed to have a deep religious meaning. But this “reveal” in the movie’s last scene is ultimately just like the rest of “Ram Setu”—a lot of ideas thrown together in disjointed ways and resulting in an unimpressive story.

Zee Studios released “Ram Setu” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on October 25, 2022.

Review: ‘Samrat Prithviraj,’ starring Akshay Kumar

June 23, 2022

by Carla Hay

Akshay Kumar in “Samrat Prithviraj” (Photo courtesy of Yash Raj Films)

“Samrat Prithviraj”

Directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi

Hindi with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in India and Afghanistan, between the years 1177 and 1192, the action film “Samrat Prithviraj” has a nearly all-Indian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and royalty.

Culture Clash: Prithviraj Chauhan has battles with rivals over his leadership power of Delhi.

Culture Audience: “Samrat Prithviraj” will appeal primarily to viewers who are looking for a biopic action film that relies heavily on shallow and violent clichés instead of being an accurate historical drama.

Akshay Kumar and Manushi Chhillar in “Samrat Prithviraj” (Photo courtesy of Yash Raj Films)

“Samrat Prithviraj” is an example of a biopic that’s a huge waste of time and money. This sorry spectacle amounts to nothing more than looking like a big-budget, mindlessly violent video game version of the story of real-life Indian historical figure Prithviraj Chauhan. The movie’s epic fight scenes in battlefields look very fake and hollow. And the human interactions that don’t involve fighting are also poorly contrived and acted. With a total running time of 135 minutes, this bloated and repetitive mess wears out its welcome very quickly and then drags on until its very predictable end.

Written and directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi, “Samrat Prithviraj” (which means “Emperor Prithviraj” in Hindi) is just a series of historically inaccurate scenes showing feuds over power and revenge. All of the cast members just look like they’re going through the motions with no authentic-looking feelings. In some parts of the movie, it really does just look like a video game. There could be CGI visual effects instead of real actors, and there wouldn’t be much difference in the performances.

The movie, which takes place in India and Afghanistan from 1177 to 1192, opens with an over-the-top unrealistic scene taking place in 1192 in Ghazni, Afghanistan. A stadium full of people will be witnessing the torture of a blind prisoner fighting off three lions that have been set loose in the stadium. That prisoner is exiled Indian leader Prithviraj Chauhan (played by Akshay Kumar), whose eyes are missing for reasons shown later in the movie. The scene is grossly unrealistic in how Prithviraj, who is armed with an axe and a spear, is able to kill all of the attacking lions. After he kills the lions, Prithviraj collapses from exhaustion.

“Samrat Prithviraj” (whose original title was “Prithviraj”) then shows flashbacks that depict what led Prithviraj to this far-fetched “battle with the lions” scene. The story goes back a few years before in India, where Prithviraj gets caught up in a power struggle over leadership of Delhi. It all starts when Prithviraj is ruling over Ajmer, and he is visiting the land of Kannauj. It’s where he meets and falls in love with a princess named Sanyogita (played by Manushi Chhillar), whose ruthless king father Jayachandra (played by Ashutosh Rana) does not approve of the relationship.

Meanwhile, back in Ajmer, Prithviraj offers asylum to a man named Mir Hossain (played by Anshuman Singh), who has come to Ajmer because he ran off with a woman named Chitralekha, who was the concubine of Hossain’s brother Muhammad Ghori (played by Manav Vij), the sultan of Ghor. Ghori dispatches an underling named Qutb al-Din Aibak (played by Sahidur Rahaman) to Ajmer, to send a message demanding that Prithviraj send Hossain back to Ghori, or else Ghori threatens to declare war against Prithviraj and the people of Ajmer.

Prithviraj refuses this demand. And you know what that means: Ghori and Prithviraj go to war. Soldiers from their respective lands getting caught in this power struggle, and often lose their lives as a result. One of the casualties is Mir Hossain. Prithviraj is victorious in this war. Ghori is captured, but is then foolishly released a few days later.

Prithviraj then becomes the ruler of Delhi, which he inherited when the previous ruler gave the leadership of Delhi to Prithviraj instead of a biological heir (his grandson), who becomes yet another person to hold a grudge against Prithviraj. With Prithviraj now the ruler of Delhi, this rise to power does not sit well with Jayachandra, who does not want his daughter Sanyogita to marry Prithviraj.

Sanyogita and Prithviraj get married anyway. As the saying goes: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” And so, this marriage leads to Jayachandra forming an alliance with Ghori to get revenge and kill Prithviraj. Eventually, the movie shows what happened after Prithviraj fainted in the stadium after he killed the lions.

“Samrat Prithviraj” has several mind-numbing battle scenes that should be suspenseful but they actually become very boring after a while. The scenes that don’t take place on a battlefield are just as monotonous. Supporting characters—such as Prithviraj’s closest confidant Chand Vardai (played by Sonu Sood) and Prithviraj’s uncle Kaka Kanha (played by Sanjay Dutt)—are completely underdeveloped.

Worst of all, “Samrat Prithviraj” does very little to make viewers care about the characters, especially because this movie looks more like an overblown fantasy film rather than a historical drama based on real people. Everything about this era’s conflicts between Hindus and Muslims is over-simplified to the point where none of it is believable. “Samrat Prithviraj” shows what can happen when filmmakers take a lot of money and put very little of it to good use.

Yash Raj Films released “Samrat Prithviraj” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on June 3, 2022.

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