In Kissan, producer, writer and hero Sohail Khan reworks Manoj Kumar’s 1967 blockbuster Upkaar.
In a village, two brothers get separated at a young age because one of them is sent to the city for education. Twenty-five years later, the family falls apart as urban materialism is pitted against rural values.
Manoj Kumar successfully turned this story into a patriotic melodrama. Sohail working with director Puneet Sira orchestrates a violent, 80s-style, inadvertently comical clunker instead.
The story is set in Bollywood’s mythical Punjab, where mustard fields are always swaying in the wind and a robust bhangra song is on everyone’s lips.
The only fly in this pastoral paradise is Nirmal, played by a newcomer named Romeo. Nirmal is the malcontent described on film’s posters as “the son of a gun.” And they mean this literally.
So he walks around the village with weapons, threatening, murdering, setting fire. Nirmal works for Sohan Seth. Seth is supposedly a leading industrialist but he spends most of his working day scheming to buy up the village land so he can create factories.
He manipulates the educated son Aman, played by Arbaaz Khan, who begins to see the wisdom in selling their land.
Of course Jiggar, the son-of-the-soil played by Sohail and the father, played by Jackie Shroff, understand that, as the father says, no good ever came from selling one’s mother.
Kissan’s first half is reasonably engaging but after the interval, proceedings become ridiculous.
Rural Punjab is a lawless Wild West with people randomly slitting throats, hanging farmers, totaling cars, burning farms.
In one particularly silly sequence, Jiggar and his uncles take off their pagdis and go on a rampage with hair streaming in the wind.
The performances don’t do much to prop up the dated plot. Basically everyone grunts and roars a lot. The Khan brothers sincerely work up a sweat but their expressions are so stilted that you’re waiting for the sound of wood knocking on wood.
Kissan is heart-felt and earnest but it’s too dim-witted to make an impact. I’m going with two out of five stars.