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. 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: ‘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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