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#UKAsianReview: ‘Holiday’ – A cheap package deal or five-star vacation?

“You are not getting any younger son”, Virat’s (Akshay Kumar) mom explains when they go bride-hunting immediately upon his arrival at Mumbai Central train station on his leave from the Indian Army.

Mother certainly knows best.

It looks like age is catching up with this ‘khiladi’. And no amount of Botox can mask that fact.

Despite this, the 46 year old action hero may still have it in him as he single-handedly runs, fights, kicks, dances his way through this week’s big release.

Bonus: he gets to romance a heroine almost half his age. Charming!

Bollywood’s creative drought, which usually reaps lucrative box-office returns, continues with yet another pointless remake of a Kollywood potboiler.

Director AR Murugadoss (‘Ghajini’), who also directed the 2012 Tamil original (‘Thupakki’ with Vijay), relocates the action to Mumbai but the dosa-thin plot remains the same.

On vacation (holiday…get it?) from the Indian Army, the aforementioned Virat (Akshay Kumar) is introduced to the coy, tea-serving Saiba (Sonakshi Sinha) who can also sing!

He rejects her for being too fat…ok, I made that bit up..for being too docile. Virat changes his mind when he realizes Saiba is really a feisty female boxer who likes to smoke occasionally and drinks ‘red wine and vodka’.

Saiba herself decides to accept his proposal when her best good looking female friend who got married to an older bald guy advises her that Virat is a good catch as it’s difficult to find a smart good-looking man in India!

Meanwhile, Virat hangs out with his best buddy (Sumeet Raghavan – who?) on a bus and is witness to a terrorist attack which kills 25 people. He chases the suspect and nabs him. This leads him to unraveling a plot to blow up twelve key landmarks in the city.

Virat becomes a man obsessed with foiling the attacks.

You certainly will not want to mess with this ‘Defence Intelligence Agency’ agent who can solve a suicide case in five seconds, do Rubik’s cube even quicker, work out the terrorists targets by joining the dots on a blank map, and would not hesitate to chop off your finger if you do not answer his questions.

He is also compassionate (he adopts a lame sniffer dog) with a mean dress sense (loves to wear jumpers in Mumbai’s heat).

Will Virat save Mumbai? Who will save us from Virat?

Fans of commercial Hindi cinema will not be disappointed as this violent film – rated 15 in the UK – incorporates all the elements of the masala ‘formula’.

It largely succeeds as the focus is mainly on the race against time element with the other customary subplots like the romance and comedy taking a back seat to the main proceedings.

A-list action hero Akshay Kumar proves again that he is better at stunts than at emoting. It’s hard not to suppress a giggle when he says in English “He is a damn terrorist!” in order to justify his actions.

Sinha’s role is simply to look pretty and dance in the distracting songs. She acquits herself commendably. Govinda has a brief cameo and gets mud on his face – justice at last! There is even a ‘Sai Baba’ joke which made me chuckle.

This unduly lengthy film would have been a more effective and engaging thriller if the director had the guts to drop the subplots totally.

Hey-ho! This is Bollywood. Alas, this insistence on the incorporation of the usual bolly-oddities makes this a three rather than a five star holiday.

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