Cast:Akshay Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty and Aditi Rao Hydari
A Haryanvi hunk, supine on a charpoy atop a truck, arrives at a granary and proceeds to kick up plenty of heat and dust. His grand entry is accompanied by ear-splitting background music.
Here to ward off a posse of criminals, he takes up position on the right of the frame.
His main foe, the leader of the hoarders, asks him why. The protagonist’s answer is as predictable as it is daft: haven’t you heard that the boss is always right?
He repeats that line ad nauseam through the film. Unfortunately, for all the pain that he inflicts on himself and the audience, this boss is never quite right.
Boss is an action flick in which both logic and good taste go for a toss from the moment it kicks off.
The humour is cringingly coarse, the stunts are completely over the top and the emotions never ring true.
The film is credited to not one but two screenplay writers. It also claims to have had a script supervisor on board.
Wonder what the latter was supervising. If he were really serious about his job description, he would have done a complete rewrite of the material or sent the script where it belongs – the paper shredder.
Since he obviously hasn’t done either of the two, Boss, a load of mindless dross, is what the audience is subjected to.
It is laced with a string of silly devices (including a bomb in a buffoon’s bum) pressed into the service of a bunch of brutes who go about pushing the limits of loutishness to snapping point.
The film’s good gangster versus bad policeman construct lacks the force that can sustain the unbridled excesses over the two-and-a-half-hour runtime.
Boss tries very, very hard to acquire the contours of an epic by alluding to the Mahabharata. The hero is likened to Arjuna at one point.
It also throws in a Gandhian patriarch, an epitome of honesty and dignity who disowns a fiercely loyal and violence-prone son.
To ensure that nobody misses the point, the man, a retired schoolteacher played by Mithun Chakraborty, sports a pair of round glasses a la the Mahatma.
What’s more, the voice of Amitabh Bachchan informs the audience right at the outset that the action is set at the very site of the battle of Kurukshetra. Boss is epic all right – an epic mess.
The ultra-violent fights that are staged in the next two hours hover on the edge of the bizarre. Heads are smashed, bones are cracked, and many a hoodlum is unceremoniously dispatched to his doom.
The town is home turf to a gang lord with a heart of gold, Tauji alias Big Boss (Danny Denzongpa), a transporter whose single-point agenda is to rid his backyard of all evil.
The Boss of the title is a young boy who is picked off the mean streets by Tauji after the latter saves him from a murderous assault.
Fifteen years on, the youngster, Surya (Akshay Kumar), grows into a strapping lad who is ready to carry forward his foster father’s work.
He struts around town like a man possessed. He pulverizes everyone who comes in his way. Nobody can so much as land a blow on him and he emerges from all the fisticuffs without a scratch.
Not too far away from here, in the city of Delhi, a young man Shiv (Shiv Pandit) falls in love with Ankita, the sister (Aditi Rao Hydari) of a ruthlessly cynical cop (Ronit Roy).
The home minister’s son, Vishal (Aakash Dhabade), has the policeman’s sis in his sights and the policeman is determined to help him by getting Shiv out of the way.
Shiv languishes in jail until Boss figures out that the harried boy is somebody he holds dear. He decides to rescue him from the clutches of the killing machine in uniform.
The fight to the finish is neither gripping nor particularly meaningful. But does anybody expect anything in a film like Boss to have any meaning?
Boss, needless to say, is Akshay Kumar’s film all the way and there are several moments in it when he comes across as perfectly cut out for such antics.
It also has a clutch of old-timers in the cast. Besides Mithun and Danny, there is Parikshit Sahni in a walk-on role.
Shakti Kapoor also makes a single-scene appearance. They can do little to pull the film out of the muddle.
In the supporting cast, Shiv Pandit and Aakash Dhabade make the most of the limited opportunities that come their way.
Aditi Rao Hydari, however, is a complete misfit in this male-dominated landscape.
She possesses a natural feminine grace and this film has no space for any such nicety.
She first plays the sultry siren – emerging from a pool in a two-piece bikini and then romping around to a screechy remix of Har kisiko nahi milta pyaar zindagi mein – and then assumes the guise of a tormented woman pining for the man she loves. Neither act quite comes off.
In one scene, her boorish, misogynistic brother advises the girl to stay indoors and watch television. “Tata Sky has 200 channels,” he tells her. If you, too, have a DTH connection, stay home and watch AXN.