wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)

quick review:

Shallow, hollow, soulless imitation of a certain ‘Air Force’ film. Old bottle old wine, unimaginative, stale repetition of the India-Pakistan-war genre. Lazy, unambitious, opportunistic picking of the lowest-hanging fruit of nationalism.

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Director: Siddharth Anand
Running time: 165 minutes
More Movie Info

Performative—that’s the word that won’t leave me ever since I left the movie hall. The banter, the camaraderie, the romance, the feminism, the shock, the angst…all were motions being performed. Because it is assumed that nothing more is needed to fill the seats.

it is difficult to take things very seriously when your mind is wandering and wondering.

The supposed humour, like protagonist Patty (Hrithik Roshan) says, is not funny. The romance hardly makes you go ‘kiss, kiss, kiss’. The banter between friends seems to be mere placeholders between all the action in the skies. The latter, in turn, is barely engaging. Sure, it might be a first for an Indian film, but given the budget, the aim ought to have been more than just ‘recover the money.’ Of course, they are in the business of making movies. But shouldn’t making movies be a little bit about the art?

The story oscillates between Patty’s personal journey and the India-Pakistan war, not doing much justice to either storyline. Now, the jingoism is yawn-inducing. But then, I went in expecting that, so no love lost there. But, couldn’t it have been some other country or entity? This one is done to death and the narration is as dry as it gets. Yeah-yeah, I know. Where’s the fun in that, right?

Now, given that nothing new is going to happen, there is nothing at stake for us as an audience. We know we will have token representation of communities and gender. And some people have to die to prove that they are patriotic despite belonging to those communities. Yeah, I know this is me not giving the movie away. So what if you could have seen it coming from a mile away?

Now, what could keep us interested is that it is related to a true-life event. But it is difficult to take things very seriously when your mind is wandering and wondering. Is that logo on the soldiers’ inner t-shirt a part of the uniform or is it product placement? Because there’s a lot of that going on otherwise. Is that hairstyle allowed? Does each soldier arrive individually in an Air Force plane when they report for duty? Are spouses allowed to accompany soldiers when they are sent for secret, important missions? Do the helmets carry their pet names or was it for our benefit because they would be difficult to recognise with helmets on? Do only Pakistan’s helmets have their flags on them? Maybe it is all good? But the mind wandered. In a thriller. Because it was full of slow-mo and loud-loud music. And unengaging.

But hey, I can thank the movie for keeping me focussed for the bits when white-marble-like chiselled faces and pretty people were on screen. And they didn’t do too bad acting-wise too. Deepika Padukone has slowly started creating a space for her characters where it looks easy to be that person.

Hrithik looks like a beautiful mural, though less than usual. Beautiful, same, even more. Mural, less. Yes, that’s a compliment. Rishabh Sawhney’s baritone had potential, and so did his character’s menacing demeanour. But nothing much was made of it, so we will have to wait for another film to find out more about his skill. The rest of the cast is more jarring than not. And why-o-why is Anil Kapoor rushing through his lines? To cut the unnecessarily long runtime of the film?

...all were motions being performed. Because it is assumed that nothing more is needed to fill the seats.

There was this one line that caught me unaware. It equated revenge and war. And that’s a deep philosophical take, and something totally unexpected. And it was done really well too. I found my time, money, and effort rewarded by that line. But then, I was already there. Would you want to go for just that? Okay, fine. And some beautiful people doing a decent job of acting?

- meeta, a part of the audience

30 reviewers(?) - 14 yays 11 so-so 5 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Smrity Sharma, Bollywood Life : ...Watch Fighter to see the Indian Air Force in a whole new light. The film will make you proud, nudge your emotions towards your nation and leave you thoroughly entertained with its grandiose and brilliantly shot air combat scenes. The performances from each member of the cast take the movie a notch higher. If you liked Pathaan and War by Siddharth Anand, you will love Fighter. It will be no exaggeration to say that Fighter is India's Top Gun. The film has released on the long weekend and you'd have to strongly fight the urge to not go to the theatres to watch Fighter more than once. I am already booking tickets for my second show.... full review

Thumbs up, by L Ravichander, Deccan Chronicle : ...Hrithik’s talent has never been in question. All the ingredients that highlight his strengths are packed in Fighter. To him the script and to his fans, the film is paisa vasool. Sample dialogues like tirange se haseen khafn nahi hoga or his punch line when he is delivering punches on the villain when he says Jai Hind is the pride of every child, Jai Hind is the prayer of every mother, you get the sense of the drift.... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...All-in-all, Fighter is a homage not only to IAF but to our armed forces in general. It’s an easy breezy action film cut with a oodles of patriotism and is buoyed by bankable performances. Watch it for its top notch aerial duels and for Hrithik and Deepika’s chemistry.... full review

Thumbs up, by Murtuza Iqbal, Filmi Beat : ...Overall, Siddharth Anand delivers his career's best film with Fighter. Yes, it's better than Pathaan. The movie is a must watch and a perfect film for the Republic Day Weekend. JAI HIND!... full review

Thumbs up, by lachmi Deb Roy, FirstPost : ...The movie touched upon another brilliant thing and that was the importance of lady officers in the armed forces. Deepika Padukone as helicopter pilot Minnal Rathore, aka Minni is as skilled at her job as any male counterpart. We must admit that Karan Singh Grover as Sartaj ‘Taj’ Gill has given his best performance in Fighter. We hope to see him more on the big screen.... full review

Thumbs up, by Baradwaj Rangan, : ...I must say I am enjoying this Hollywood-ised version of it. It’s slick enough not to seem old-fashioned, and yet, desi enough to make you whistle and cheer for scenes and lines. And they make a heck of a star vehicle, too!. Read more at: full review

Thumbs up, by Nitin Jain, : ...Overall, with a longer weekend, Fighter is the movie to watch out for. With a nationalist fervour at an all time high added with the Republic Day celebrations, Fighter might just add up to our ‘Josh’... full review

Thumbs up, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...Fighter is a full-on entertainer that engages and excites in equal parts. It is high on patriotism but it never resorts to chest-thumping chants of Jai Hind or Hindustan Zindabad. The scene where Hrithik makes a reference to IOP (India Occupied Pakistan) in the climax certainly calls for loud cheers, and proves why Hindi films know best how to show love for their country. Watch Fighter for a pure paisa vasool experience, good looking performances and some gravity defying aerial action that won’t give you a headache but leave you with a sense of pride.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonil Dedhia, : ...Like the quintessential entertainer, Fighter serves up a little bit of everything in its narrative — action, drama, music, romance, and even emotions. The screenplay makes room for every commercial movie element. Fighter is a perfect popcorn entertainment thriller that plays to the gallery and lives up to the hype.... full review

Thumbs up, by Divya Raje Bhonsale, NewsBytes : ...The film was released ahead of Republic Day, eyeing to cash in on the long weekend. Fighter may fly low on writing but sure takes flight with performance and stunning camera work. Anand should have skipped its 3D release. Also, don't miss out on Sharib Hashmi's cameo, the only bit where the humor works.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rishil Jogani, Pinkvilla : ...Fighter is brilliant and unquestionably a must watch on the biggest screen possible, and preferably in 3D. It celebrates the Indian Air Force cadets just as they deserve to be.... full review

Thumbs up, by Simran Khan, Times Now : ...Fighter is arriving in the cinema halls (today) ahead of Republic Day and this further enhances the film's appeal. This aerial actioner has the potential to spread patriotic fervour in the air, courtesy of its gripping narrative, mind-bending action scenes and goosebumps-evoking dialogues. From Hrithik unfurling the Tricolour as Sujlam Suflam plays in the background to his monologue teaching the terrorist what "Jai Hindi" means to every Indian, this movie is high on nationalism; but that's only one of the other reasons Fighter is worth watching. Action enthusiasts will relish watching the breathtaking aerial stunts and impressive CGI scenes, while the emotional aspect is sure to resonate with every Indian.... full review

Thumbs up, by Dhaval Roy, Times of India : ...The tactical scenarios and how the Indian Air Force outsmarts the Pakistani defence add to the film’s thrill and make it more appealing. 'Fighter' does not have much new to offer in terms of its plot and narrative. But it is an engaging fare, and if you are an action buff, the killer aerial combat sequences will leave you impressed.... full review

Thumbs up, by Puja Talwar, Zee News : ...Fighter takes off and lands smoothly even though it reminds one of a desi version of Top Gun running high on nationalism and adrenaline... full review

So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...In Hindi cinema, following a set pattern of a hit film has always been a tradition as here serveral films get started in the same genera, post a big success at the box office wins over the audience. The current pattern is of making patriotic film and FIGHTER continues that tradination in 2024.... full review

So-So, by Akash Hegde, Deccan Herald : ...The romance between the lead actors is half baked and reaches a convenient conclusion. Throughout, the film walks a fine line between patriotism and jingoism. The messaging ends up leaning more towards the latter close to the end.... full review

So-So, by Abhimanyu Mathur, DNA : ...But despite all the embellishments, Fighter remains predictable. The plot is wafer thin, and anyone who has seen enough Hindi films (or Top Gun), knows what the arc of our hero will be. We know which surprise is hidden where as it is all too formulaic. It’s all hidden smartly under a layer of smart packaging. The tone shift every 15 minutes is jarring too, as Siddharth Anand tries to make a film that is both slick and plays to the gallery at the same time. The end result is neither here, nor there, but still entertaining, to an extent at least.... full review

So-So, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Free Press Journal : ...Fighter has songs, drama, slo-mo entries, and great-looking people in uniforms. You may take off once with all of it unless you are only expecting an Indo-Pak face-off. And, hey, don’t forget to pack some popcorn, soft drinks, and hot samosas to binge up in the air. It is a damn GLOSSY affair!... full review

So-So, by Aseem Sharma, India TV : ...On the acting front, all the stars aced their job but got less time. Overall, a good watch for only those who love films on nationalism. If you are expecting anything outstanding from the film, you will be disappointed for sure as the storyline of 'Fighter' revolves majorly around real-life incidents like the Pulwama attack of 2019.... full review

So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Hrithik Roshan does his best to lift the film as high as he can. Deepika Padukone is solid and completely at home in a predominantly man's world. Anil Kapoor's restraint adds a degree of gravitas to the film. But Fighter could have done with a more fearsome villain.... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...Fighter is raised fists against a boringly predicable target. That the face behind the pose belongs to Hrithik Roshan is just as well.... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, the new Indian Express : ...Succumbing to the current atmosphere of hyper-nationalism leads to bombast, which in turn weakens a film. Baaps don’t go around declaring who they are. They just know.... full review

So-So, the new Indian Express : ...Fighter seems to constantly undergo a tug-of-war between being patriotic and going full-blown jingoistic. Through its nationalist diatribes, it wants to attract the attention of the lowest common denominator but is unable to let go of its moral stance.... full review

So-So, by Pratikshya Mishra, The Quint : ...Scripted by Ramon Chibb with Siddharth Anand, Fighter would’ve benefited from more nuance and much less jingoism – most of which feels like it's there for mass appeal. The film also tries to understand the carmraderie of military life and pays attention to proceedings (even if it is eventually ignored to give the hero his hero’s journey). I assume a sequel is imminent – lets hope it keeps the skill and works on the messaging.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...Sadly, such movies thrive on the diplomacy of counter-arguments. You can’t call it propaganda because it is loosely inspired by real events. You can’t call it inaccurate because the disclaimer says it’s a work of fiction. You can’t call it mediocre because it’s a tribute. You can’t call it post-truth because it’s Indian. You can’t even call it entertaining because war is no laughing matter. What’s left, then, is a film called Fighter that’s about South Asian people who fight in the skies.... full review

Thumbs down, by Prathyush Parasuraman, Film Companion : ...The way fighter jets hewed space in Top Gun — for example, the sheer velocity with which it shudders the roof of a building and the hair of people standing underneath — that crumpling of space-time is something we cannot locate in Fighter. When characters are suspended from helicopters, their hair looks licked by a wintry Mumbai gust, instead. When they are navigating heavy jets, there is no sense of sweat, of gravity, no headrush, no labor, no flexed veins. What we get, instead, is polish. But of what use is polish if it is glazed over a surface so cracked?... full review

Thumbs down, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, Fighter is a classic example of cooking a sour dish despite adding all the perfect ingredients. I’m not disappointed after watching the film; I’m just tired.... full review

Thumbs down, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...But Anand is missing Sridhar Raghavan and Abbas Tyrewala, his YRF writing partners (Ramon Chibb, Hussain Dalal and Abbas Dalal are the writers here). It’s not just the sledgehammer jingoism, you feel Raghavan and Tyrewala’s loss in the quieter moments too, like when Patty and Mini are flirting in his kitchen and the witless dialogue leaves the actors stranded. Or Mini meeting her estranged parents, a scene so schmaltzy even Padukone’s otherworldly crying abilities can’t salvage it.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Despite its potential for showcasing the significance and scale of fraternity and fighter planes, Fighter's distressing lack of thrills and sizzle reduces the exercise to an excuse for tedious amounts of Pakistan bashing. There's no genuine attempt to dwell into the context or consequences in its destructive geopolitics and worldview seeing as it casually throws in scenarios inspired by Pulwama attack and Balakot strikes into the mix.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

1 readers - 0 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

So-So, by Raj : Tried and tired - bollywood...

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: War film. Air Force planes, bombs, missiles. Torture.
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A lip-to-lip. A topless Hrithik Roshan in one scene.
  • Concept: India-Pakistan

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Comments (4)

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Dear Meetu, war, patriotism, Pakistan, in-between songs - done to death. Well made masala bollywood style pot-boiler may fetch INR 150-200, just below-par but overall breakeven


“And some people have to die to prove that they are patriotic despite belonging to those communities.“



Btw I am told the air fight sequences are oussom and worth it. Looking forward to watch just for that.

@Raj yeah maybe

@Annkur :D Yes some of them are cool. But nothing special for those of us exposed to Mission Impossible, Top Gun and likes. The credit goes to the money spent, not creativity, as such. Sure, execution cannot still be taken for granted. But can it not at thse budget levels?

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