Brothers Director: Karan Malhotra Starring: Akshay Kumar, Sidharth Malhotra, Jackie Shroff, Jacqueline Fernandez, Shefali Shah Two stars
Brothers, the story of two estranged half-brothers who face off in a fighting competition, is the desi remake of the popular 2011 Hollywood film Warrior, which starred Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton.
The Hindi version, however, set against the backdrop of R2F (Right To Fight) – a mixed martial arts (MMA) tournament – fails miserably compared to the original.
Elder brother David Fernandez (Akshay Kumar), a former street fighter who has opted for a simple life as a schoolteacher, enters R2F for its prize money, which he needs to pay for his sick daughter’s medical treatment.
Younger sibling Monty Fernandez (Sidharth Malhotra) is in the tournament to prove himself worthy of the legacy of his father, Garson Fernandez (Jackie Shroff), a renowned fighter from years gone by.
Showing off well-toned bodies while performing some high-octane action sequences, Kumar and Malhotra do justice to their parts. Kumar also expertly portrays the softer side of David, skilfully revealing the helplessness of a father watching his child suffer.
Malhotra seems to be improving with every film, but still has a long way to go to before blossoming into a complete actor.
The screenplay incorporates a liberal dose of teary sentimentality, played out in two small roles by Jacqueline Fernandez (as Jenny, David’s wife) and Shefali Shah (as Maria, Garson’s wife). Although both characters have limited screen time, Shah makes a mark, delivering a powerful performance.
Tying the story together amid all this is the veteran Shroff – as the brothers’ alcoholic ex-fighter father who is transformed into a grieving patriarch trying to bring his family together. He plays both aspects of the role with equal finesse.
The warring brothers ultimately find themselves in R2F, and from that point on, the film takes an entirely predictable turn. Both siblings are able to polish off their lesser opponents, setting up the inevitable brother-versus-brother final match for the R2F title.
It’s in this final bout, the film’s climax, that David and Monty fight not just each other, but their tumultuous past.
As they match each other punch-for-punch in the ring, they remember their days growing up together, spontaneously resurrecting their fraternal love.
And thus the sibling rivalry that was built up throughout the film melts away in a rather tame post-match reconciliation.
Overall, the direction of Karan Malhotra, Bollywood's remake specialist (having remade 1990's Agneepath in 2012) is sluggish and uninspiring, and allows the narrative to painfully drift for the most part. The film's music, composed by Ajay-Atul (Agneepath, Bol Bachchan), is monotonous and doesn't blend well with the plot.
The high points of the movie are the R2F fights and audiences should watch it for the action.