Nepotism in Bollywood is not confined only to star kids—there has been a succession of kids of producers and directors too; Utkarsh Sharma being the latest, carrying the heavy load of his father Anil Sharma’s expectations—a young man who is expected to do a Sunny Deol (Gadar was directed by Sharma), without having the muscle or screen presence.
Because Genius has been produced to introduce him, he is made to romance, dance, fight, rage, wave the national flag, and also twist and shout when his tinnitus (really!) gets unbearable. Vasudev Shastri (Utkarsh Sharma) grew up in Mathura, so his greeting of choice is “Radhe Radhe”. He tops the entrance exam for IIT, for which the runner up, Nandini (Ishita Chauhan) snubs his friendly (read stalkerish) overtures. But how can she not fall for a guy, who knows his science as well as his shastras? For a gift he gives her contact lenses and earrings with trackers, so that he can see and hear what she does! Because he can also defeat international hackers and jam traffic signals, RAW hires him, and, when he is incapacitated in a shootout, also dismisses him.
Never mind, says Vasu, they can’t prevent him from fighting for his country, so he goes after the villain MSR (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), an ISI agent, who wants to plant bombs (what else!) and blow up temples in Mathura, because in the past a“kaalia” cop (Mithun Chakraborty) gave him grief for killing his parents. What else can Vasu do but stop him single-handed?
The writing is preposterous, and since both Vasu and MSR call themselves “genius” (mostly pronounced gin-ee-yus by various characters)—the latter also calls himself “handsome”—you look for some brain or brawn in the film, and find both severely lacking.
How can Sharma explain why at interval point, the screen says, “Genius Begins” and at the end, “Genius Continues.” Good heavens, surely they are not planning a sequel!
Director: Anil Sharma
Cast: Utkarsh Sharma, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Ishita Chauhan and others
Deepa Gahlot is one of India’s seniormost and best known entertainment journalists. A National Awardwinning film critic, Deepa has watched more movies and theatre than most people in the country. An author of several books on film and theatre, she has had an extremely successful run as head of theatre and film at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai, during which she helped nurture several original productions. For Xyngr, Deepa Gahlot reviews theatre and cinema.