Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Bhansali Productions’ Gabbar Is Back (UA) is the story of one man’s fight against corruption. Aditya (Akshay Kumar) is a college professor who doubles up as a crusader under the name of Gabbar. He picks up corrupt government officers and metes out punishment to them by killing them for making life miserable for the common man with their corrupt ways of operating. He hangs the dead person, one at a time, in a public place and leaves enough evidence of why the government officer was killed. But nobody knows who Gabbar is. The police tries in vain to trace Gabbar.

Aditya has a back story which underlines why he turned a crusader. He lived happily with his wife (Kareena Kapoor) till one day his world and the building in which they lived came crashing down. His pregnant wife had died in that crash caused due to faulty plans of the building. The plans had been passed by corrupt government officials, thanks to greasing of palms by builder Digvijay Patil (Suman Talwar). Aditya takes the builder head on but the powerful Patil attacks him so brutally that he is presumed dead.

Aditya, however, is saved by a group of students who then join him in his fight against corruption. As luck would have it, Aditya alias Gabbar gets another chance to expose Digvijay Patil and the hospital run by his son. The public humiliation Patil faces because of Gabbar’s action is too much for Patil to bear. Having also lost his son in the scandal exposed by Gabbar, Digvijay Patil is now thirsting for Gabbar’s blood. And so, while nobody seems to know much about Gabbar, there is Patil as well as the police force waiting to pounce on him.

What happens thereafter?

The film is a remake of Tamil super-hit Ramanna. A.R. Murugadoss’ story is one which the common man can easily identify with because it deals with day-to-day issues affecting every human being. It is not novel because films like Singham and, more recently, Ungli, also tackled the problem of corruption but it is, nevertheless, relevant and interesting as well as engaging. The screenplay, penned by A.R. Muruga­doss, with additional screenplay by Rajat Aroraa, is very entertaining and involves the audience right from the word ‘go’. Of course, there are a few weak points, one of them being the lack of proper culmination of police constable Sadhu’s (Sunil Grover) track. Given the build-up of the track, it should have ended in something of great consequence but that doesn’t happen. In other words, the drama would have remained pretty much the same even without Sadhu’s involvement. But the few weaknesses in the script don’t adversely affect the entertainment quotient of the film which has action, melodrama and even some entertaining comedy. There are several scenes worthy of applause like the dead body sequence in the hospital, the scene in which CBI officer Kuldeep Pahwa (Jaideep Ahlawat) asks senior police officer Yadav (Jagdish Rajpurohit) to move and vacate his chair for his own driver!

Rajat Aroraa’s dialogues are like gems. They greatly enhance the impact of the drama and are clap-worthy at a number of places.

Akshay Kumar, in a get-up that’s a good change from his other films, acts with effortless ease. He gives his cent per cent to the character of Gabbar and performs very ably, never going overboard and never under-performing. Shruti Haasan (as Shruti) has a brief role but provides entertainment whenever she comes on the screen. Her Google talk is cute. Suman Talwar is effective as Digvijay Patil although, it must be said, a recognisable face and a known name would’ve added to the impact. Jaideep Ahlawat has his moments as CBI officer Kuldeep Pahwa. Sunil Grover makes his presence felt very well in the role of police constable Sadhu. Jagdish Rajpurohit is entertaining as police officer Yadav. Manoj Chandila is alright as Vikas Patil. Shivraj Wahekar (as police commissioner Pant), Rajiv Kacho (as Vishwas Sawant), Chandraprakash Thakur (as Thakur), Vikas Shrivastav (as a police officer), Fareed Ahmad and Shruti Bapna (as Lakshmi) lend very good support. Raj Singh (as Gabbar’s team mate, Govind) is nice. Krishna Raaz (as the poor woman), Jahangir Karkaria, Narendra Jetly and Jitendra Trehan (all three as doctors in Patil Hospital), Dr. Kumud Shaw (as Dr. Kumud), Akhil Oza (as the cashier in Patil Hospital), Deepak Dadhwal (as college principal), Sanjay Gurbaxani (as the corrupt district collector), Krunal Pandit (as tehsildar Sanjay Datar), Kanchan Pagare (as PWD officer), Pradeep Shukla (as home minister) and Pravina Deshpan­de (as Govind’s mother) are all effective.

Krish’s direction is very good. His narrative style is very crisp and it keeps the viewers involved all through, never giving them a dull or boring moment. The Telugu film director makes an imp­ressive Bollywood debut. Music (Chirantan Bhatt, Yo Yo Honey Singh and Manj Musik) is appealing but there is no chartbusting song. ‘Teri meri kahani’ (Chirantan Bhatt), ‘Aao raja’ (Yo Yo Honey Singh) and ‘Gabbar’ (Manj Musik) are popular songs. Lyrics (Manoj Yadav, Kumaar, Honey Singh, Manj Musik, Raftaar and Big Dhillon) are appropriate. Choreography of all the song-dances (by Bosco-Caesar, Brinda and Vishnu Deva) is eye-pleasing. Amar Mohile’s background music is lovely and heightens the impact of the drama. Nirav Shah’s cinematography is very good. Stunt Siva’s action and stunts would be simply loved by the masses and they are very effective for the kind of drama the film tackles. Tanushree Sarkar and Boishali Sinha’s production designing is of a good standard. Rajesh G. Pandey’s editing is very sharp.

On the whole, Gabbar Is Back is entertaining all the way. It will bring back the audiences to the cinemas and keep everyone smiling despite its high cost (approximate investment around Rs. 80 crore).