Knock out poster

Knock out

wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)

quick review:

Never has the background music been so loud that I wanted to run out of the theater because my ears could take it no more. Had I been able to get over that, I might've enjoyed the film for what it was trying to say. Even so, how it said the message and the baggage of righteousness it carried would have been a hindrance.

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Director: Mani Shankar
Running time: 115 minutes
Genres: Crime, Thriller
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Hindi movies are repetitive and predictable. And yet they manage to surprise you. Knock out actually managed to get an awful performance out of Irrfan Khan. Yep! Disheartening, no? At first, I thought it was his ridiculous hairstyle I aren't being able to distract myself from. But, with the passing minutes it was difficult to let the haywire curls shoulder all the blame.

While watching Irrfan Khan deteriorate, Sanjay Dutt's usual stylish, confident, goon act seemed like an award-winner. Kangna Ranaut? Oh, you mean her shrieks, weird dialogue delivery mechanism aka her pout? I just wanted her to go back to her drugged out, mentally ill characters. In fact, looks like she was missing those days too. She tried to pull one of those looks off, in a scene where she's supposed to be scared. After all of this there is only so much Sushant Singh's cool atitude can pull off?

Also, one of the other main characters, the phone booth was way too lavish to portray the character's internal struggle or the claustrophobia he feels because of the person he is.

Despite all of this, I'd say Knock Out is far better written than your average thriller. With any fiction, there still is a realm of reality within which the story should/or at least try to stay. The way around this, is ofcourse to spread the acceptability sphere so wide, that almost anything is possible from within. So, the whole world is at Sanjay Dutt's disposal. By definition, his act is so well planned, that you cannot question his capabilities of being ready for almost anything.

When you cannot question the character's capacities, all you are left with is the bare bone plot. Knock out had a strong-ish hold on that one till they gave way to all of mother cliché's children. The spiels wouldn't stop and to ace it, you had one character actually say, "I haven't called you to preach!". Yeah, right!

Yet, Knock out covers a lot of ground. It touches upon the cool aloofness of the CCD-generation towards bomb-blasts and such everyday happenings, till something completely out of the ordinary happens - like a suited-guy does a ridiculous dance in the middle of the road. It goes on to show how self-centered we are in our roles - whether we are news reporter or a police officer. We want to keep control, irrespective of the life-and-death situation at hand - as long as it is not ours. This becomes clearer when a direct question is posed "my career vs. nation's future" The character chooses the latter and you go 'baah!' Which is when I realized how truly self-absorbed we are when we cannot even accept our fictional characters giving up on personal aspirations.

Yet, towards the end I was thinking. So, what if, what happens in this film actually comes true? What will we as a country do about it? How will we as citizens hold the new people in-charge accountable? Now, when a movie has made you think that one bit about the topic it's about, it has done something right, even if it is a teeny-weeny bit.

- meeta, a part of the audience

28 reviewers(?) - 3 yays 6 so-so 19 nays

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

Thumbs up, by Lipika Varma, AOL INDIA : ...'Knock Out' is indeed a fast paced thriller which keeps one on the edge of their seat throughout the two-hour duration of the film.... full review

Thumbs up, by Ankit Ojha, Planet Bollywood : ...The idea of black money can sound exciting on paper but for bringing out such a sensitive topic on screen you have to applaud him... full review

Thumbs up, by K N Gupta, : ...succeeds in targeting at the biggest evil of corruption, but fails in maintaining the same tempo until the end of the movie... full review

So-So, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...The middle of the second hour stagnates, albeit for a few minutes... full review

So-So, by Deepa Garimella, : ...Knock Out keeps it thrilling for a good part, but digresses into childish fantasy as it gets closer to its logical conclusion.... full review

So-So, Movie Talkies : ...Kangana Ranaut, does not have much to do in this movie, which is mainly about these two men, but she is competent and does her job well.... full review

So-So, by Noyon Jyoti Parasara, Now : ...might turn to be an interesting fare for one who has not seen Phone Booth. ... full review

So-So, by K K Rai, STARDUST : ...Kangna Ranaut, the sizzling hot oomph queen of bollywood who plays the character of a television journalist, comes out with a good performance. ... full review

So-So, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...Gulshan Grover's dirty politician act which does evoke a sense of deja vu. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Nikhil Kumar, Apun Ka Choice : ...dialogues are downright embarrassing... full review

Thumbs down, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...the moment I witnessed its clear unaccepted and unacknowledged link with PHONEBOOTH, the movie lost all its meaning and importance of being an Irfan Khan, Sanjay Dutt or Mani Shankar film.... full review

Thumbs down, by Bollyfan, Cinemaa Online : ...I would rather talk about the utter absurdity of the film’s premise & consistency (or the lack of it) and the immature message... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Gahlot, Film Impressions : ...After a while, the game gets tedious, and the background to it all, increasingly bizarre... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Deosthalee, Film Impressions : ...Indian viewers don't find faceless voices engrossing either. Then again, which Indian star would agree to play a faceless voice in the first place?... full review

Thumbs down, by Rachit Gupta, Filmfare : instantly reminisce of the times you watched your schoolmates perform English skits on stage... full review

Thumbs down, filmi cafe : ...One could have overlooked the inspirations and improbabilities had Mani Shankar’s hold on the thriller been gripping. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Pankaj Sabnani, : ...Sanjay Dutt is the only saving grace of the film. He performs his role earnestly. Irrfan hams.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times : ...Cops don’t ask for reinforcements. They stand around helpless... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...I can't decide what's worse - that they plagiarized a film entirely, or that they couldn't even make a good film despite that!... full review

Thumbs down, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ... Irrfan Khan’s act is as twisted as his hairstyle. He screams, shouts, dances, hams and does everything other than acting. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Komal Nahta, koimoi : ...will be knocked out of theaters before long... full review

Thumbs down, by Minty Tejpal, Mumbai Mirror : ...Sanjay Dutt just growls menacingly through the film, which I guess is enough for him, Irrfan manages to get some life and humour in his part, Kangna has a limited role while Grover is still good at being bad. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...Poor Irrfan, wearing strange curls, mostly cowers in the booth while Sanjay Dutt, playing the super-smart sniper, handles high-tech weaponry and moves up and down buildings with the ease of Spider-Man.... full review

Thumbs down, by Subhash K Jha, Now : ..."Phone Booth" be damned. "Knock Out" goes into places that the supposed source of inspiration can't even dream about. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Patcy N, Rediff : ...Journalist, especially crime reporters, do not wear tube tops and stilletoes while on the field... full review

Thumbs down, by Janhvi Patel, StarBoxOffice : ...One thing that surprises in the first half is the fact that Ajay Devgn plays a second fiddle to Akshaye Khanna.... full review

Thumbs down, by filmbear, Upper Stall : ...If only he’d be inspired to present it using his own grey cells and not a DVD, there is no doubt he’d have ended up with a critically acclaimed film... full review

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

Plot Summary

Tony (Irrfan Khan) is an investment banker with more suspect investing practices and clients than one can imagine. He's trapped in a phone booth by an unknown person. No one knows why.

What Worked

  • The fact that we didn't know what the real deal with the character, Bharati was?
  • The fact that the story clearly shows that Tony was the most vulnerable person in this chain of corruption and thus chosen.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • Tony's gullible wife.
  • Tight close-ups.
  • The whole deal about Tony being accused of the murder who was facing Tony but was shot from the back!
  • Sanjay Dutt's poetry!


This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • Why were there newspapers in a phone booth!?

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Lots of gunfire
  • Language: Curses used liberally
  • Nudity & Sexual content: The protagonist is a womanizer. Though nothing too outrageous is shown, it is alluded to in dialgoue
  • Concept: Wiping out corruption in one clean stroke.
  • General Look and Feel: One location, more or less.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:

Knock out - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Action Choreography:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Running time:
115 minutes

Comments (1)

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So it is not a blatant rip off of Phone Booth?

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