Crew review: Transcendent cast chemistry elevates Bollywood heist comedy

Kriti Sanon, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Tabu shine in this caper loosely inspired by the legal troubles of businessman Vijay Mallya

Kareena Kapoor, Tabu, and Kriti Sanon turn an otherwise average heist movie into a joyful experience. Photo: Communication network production
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On March 2, 2016, Vijay Mallya, then-businessman and ex-chairman of Kingfisher – a brand of that offered a line of beverages and an airline group –fled India for the UK, citing the need to be closer to his children, according to reports at the time.

It was revealed around the time that Mallya borrowed about 90 billion Indian rupees ($1.1 billion) from 17 Indian banks, an amount said organisations are still trying to collect from him. He’s still fighting several cases across both the UK and India.

Rajesh Krishnan’s feature-length directorial effort Crew – a heist comedy starring Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon, Diljit Dosanjh, and Kapil Sharma – takes the loose elements of Mallya escaping to Britain, and turns the events into an entertaining and empowering wish-fulfillment romp that focuses on female friendship, while tackling class disparity, misogyny and financial desperation along the way.

The film centres around three colleagues, all of whom work as air hostesses for Kohinoor Airlines, which is embroiled in controversies. They haven’t been paid for half a year, and – along with three other members of their team – are on the verge of personal bankruptcy.

A twist in fate forces the desperate trio to turn to crime. The issue? When they’re almost caught in the act, they realise they’re being manipulated—played for pawns by those higher up on the payroll.

What follows is the lead up to a heist – which feels more rudimentary than one would expect, but somehow works in the film’s favour because of how well the characters thrown into the unforeseen situation work with each other. Each of them has a backstory that allows the audience to empathise with them —bolstered by a trio of excellent performances.

As a result, we get a balance between a buddy comedy and a heist movie, one that focuses on developing character more than adding complicated plot machinations.

CREW

Director: Rajesh A Krishnan

Starring: Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon

Rating: 3.5/5

Coming off her powerhouse performance from Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya, Sanon’s work is solid, if overshadowed (naturally) by the incredible talent of both Tabu and Kapoor Khan. Tabu shines with her on-point depiction of what could be a massive anxiety attack and eventual breakdown in a scene that just hits hard.

The trio have excellent chemistry with each other, and make you want to root for them even in the bleakest of situations. A lot of their success can be attributed to the film’s foundation: the writing. Nidhi Mehra’s (Veere Di Wedding) ability to write relatable characters, as well as funny and strong women in stressful and unlikely situations makes Krishnan’s work flow well. Manan Sagar’s punchy, stylistic edit works as a perfect tip of the hat to heist comedies such as the Ocean’s quadrilogy.

The soundtrack is functional, works for the situation and is easy on the ears, but nothing to write home about.

Crew is an easy, breezy film. Sure, it’s not the perfect movie – the humour doesn’t always work and the heist is very basic, but it is still a fun watch. The three protagonists are likeable, and the motive behind their quirky criminal escapades make this film worth watching on the big screen.

Updated: March 28, 2024, 12:27 PM
CREW

Director: Rajesh A Krishnan

Starring: Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon

Rating: 3.5/5