Cast: Aditya Roy Kapur, Disha Patani, Anil Kapoor, Kunel Kemmu
Director: Mohit Suric
In two of his most successful films, Aashiqui 2 and Ek Villain, director Mohit Suri gave audiences a love story to cherish and songs you couldn’t stop humming. That irresistible cocktail somehow propelled those frankly average movies.
His new thriller Malang contains both a love story and some good songs. There are also, to be fair, some interesting ideas floating around. But those ideas never come together coherently; they are lost in a movie that is more interested in superficial things.
Advait (Aditya Roy Kapur) and Sara (Disha Patani) meet in Goa. They are young, they look good, they strive for freedom and adventure. How long does it take for them to seem to bump? Those bodies are in excellent shape by the way and Vikas Sivaraman’s camera adores every bend, every biceps with the same love he reserves for the scenic beaches of Goa.
However, the film will not do much for tourism in Goa. Malang’s world is dark and twisted, and Suri portrays the beach state as a Wasseypur-esque badlands with rampant drug use, frequent brutal murders, and widespread police corruption. Think of it as the anti-Dil Chahta Hai.
Advait and Sara’s beach romance is a prelude to a series of bad things happening. As the death toll mounts, the responsibility to track down the killer and bring him in comes on Agashe (Anil Kapoor), a cocaine-snorting, trigger-happy cop with little respect for rules, and Michael (Kunal Kemmu), a righteous officer who prefers to do things by the book.
The twists and turns in Malang are predictable or far-fetched. An important reveal is given away in the film’s trailer so you can see it coming from afar. The other is what one would describe as “a little much”. Suri is interested in themes such as revenge, redemption and especially in the notion of masculinity. That leads to an interesting and bold character reveal, but Malang has little room for complexity and this idea is ultimately wasted.
The film leans on its cast to do what they do best. Showing off a chest that doesn’t fit shirts, Aditya Roy Kapur is given multiple chances to flex his chiseled pecs. Disha Patani shows off her perfectly toned figure in a sporty way. Kunal Kemmu has some interesting moments, especially the scenes with his wife played by the trusty Amruta Khanvilkar. But it is expected to be Anil Kapoor who has the most fun. As Agashe, who is always sharp, the actor is wonderfully unpredictable, while also effectively conveying his inner pain when needed.
Malang is way too long, almost 2 hours and 15 minutes. The unconvincing plot simply doesn’t justify the indulgence. There are some moments that work but by the end I wish I had stayed home to sleep on my palang instead of wasting my time on Malang. I’m going with two out of five.