Akira - Review

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quick review:

Fiery thriller that doesn't let you think about anything else. For most parts anyway.



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The protagonist gets into deeper and deeper trouble, and then some more. In many a film, the trouble becomes unsustainable in terms of the story's plausibility. But it has to move on, else it will feel anti-climatic after all that build up. So, the hole is dug deeper still. This is when the audience gives up and stops caring. Akira brings itself to the brink of such a situation, but it sprinkles in some interesting tidbits from real-life that keeps things believable. Almost.

Very few films are able to hold interest to an extent that you don't look at your watch wondering, if it is interval/climax time yet. Akira's interval brings you back to the theater from her story. It is not that it is a smooth flowing story. It is a jerky move from Akira's childhood to adulthood, from small town to big city. And of course post-interval, it is a little bit of a struggle for Akira to keep it form becoming incredulous. But the main character is intriguing.

She minds her own business and won't take non-sense. She is a loner and takes the consequences on her chin. She doesn't mind standing alone. So starved are we for strong female leads that this is mesmerizing. Would this film have worked as well if the protagonist was a man? It is really difficult to tell. Would the male actor have been able to keep his star persona at bay from the character? Would he be able to stay subtly uninvolved without any signature moves? Would the director have been able to keep the drama away?

The story by itself doesn't necessarily need the protagonist to be a woman. This is exactly what works for Akira. The lead lady could have been anyone with a strong will and a stronger mind. And of course, a very strong body. And Sonakshi Sinha plays it like it was any human being with those characteristics. No airs about her character, no privilege for being a woman, no sense of entitlement. Akira, the film, doesn't give Akira, the character advantage for being a woman. No one treats her like a weak person. In fact, the college bully too is a woman. Akira might as well have been a side character from another film. And that is a good thing. There is nothing larger than life about her.

Sonakshi Sinha does it just right too. There is no great need for her to showcase different emotions in Akira. She is a confident, strong-headed woman who know how to throw in a kick. Her medication-induced disorientation works well too. We could complain that in some sense her character is flavorless. But, it is better fewer shades to her character than to have her break into song and dance, on the beat, every 20 minutes.

Yes, there is no extraneous stuff like a romantic track or song and dance. Which is why, as much in the background as it was, the family angle felt out of place. Chopping some of it off, would have made the film crisp. And anyway, just Akira and ACP Rane are enough.

Anurag Kashyap as a devious, manipulative police officer has a menacing screen presence. He's dangerous and soulless. Again, there are no shades to his character. And again, it is better than him becoming into a caricature of a villain. It is amusing that his character, ACP Rane can spin a yarn in the blink of an eye. Like the story-teller in Anurag Kashyap in real life?

The film nods at other realities of life with amusement too, like equipment and vehicles used by police officers. Or its remark on a system where an acid attacker gets away because he is connected but an acid attack defender serves time and is marked for life. However, as the film progresses it becomes less and less believable - both the cover-ups and the exposé. Fortunately, by then you are rooting hard for the protagonist. And then things are wrapped up, even if in a hurry – just before they are let loose uncontrollably out of the realm of reality.

Akira is no fairy tale. There are no charming princes and no fairy god mothers. Sure, there is a warrior princess and the devil. Their fight is enough to keep us absorbed. They fight long and hard. Maybe a tad too long. The usual trappings of the second-half syndrome however, are just about tolerable to make Akira absorbing enough to stay in memory after the walk out of the theater.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Lots. None to gory, but lots.
  • Language: Mostly clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Sex is implied.
  • Concept: A young woman gets into deeper and deeper trouble.
  • General Look and Feel: Slick action with a no non-sense attitude

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3.5
  • Story: 3.5
  • Lead Actors: 4
  • Character Artists: 4
  • Dialogues: 3
  • Screenplay: 3
  • Music Director: 2.5
  • Lyrics: 2.5

Akira - Movie Details

Akira - Trailer

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Comments (4)

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The trailer does press the right buttons but mainly because we see a female samurai of sorts. Let's hope that it has a bit more novelty over and above replacing a male lead by a female lead.


@Fan I agree. I really hope this is more than 'woman' for novelty.


Just saw this film last night....I think the female lead has biased the review. Switch it with any other male as the lead and you are left with the typical Bollywood pot boiler. Not much to write home about other than stretching of the imagination.


Akira as a film disappointed me. With A R Murugadoss at the helm of affairs and an A level lead actress, a lot was expected.

The sequence of events and the way they play out seem just illusionary. Even if we are biased and want to believe what is happening, it is just difficult to do so as the events unfolding are simply unbelievable.

Before signing off, a few words for Kashyap, whose works and statements I am the first to criticize most of the time. I must admit that he has done a very good job of playing the corrupt to the core policeman, and just his presence on the screen not only makes you abhor him but also fear him. Good discovery, good debut.

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