HOLIDAY – A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY

Story: A soldier’s holiday turns into a full-time mission to save Mumbai from terror attacks, while only taking time out for his bride-hunt. Review: Gagged men tumble out of his closet. Tied up terrorists and ‘sleeper cells’ too. Hell’s bells, they’re far from ‘sleeping beauties’. But then they have to make our brave-heart Virat Bakshi (Akshay) look good. And he sure does.

In his camouflage suits and his neon bermudas. Whether he’s on a secret mission (as Defence Intelligence Agent), or romancing his boisterous ‘boxer’ belle Saiba (Sonakshi). All the while coaching his cop buddy on how to ‘crack a case’, or saluting his boss sergeant (Govinda, in a cutesy cameo). Virat’s on holiday in Mumbai – ‘ladki dekhne’ – where a terror blast kills school kids in a bus.

A suspect is caught and it leads to series of more suspects who’re part of a devious demolition plan by – Sleeper Cells (trained terrorists guised as common men in society). His holiday turns into havoc and Virat becomes a oneman army – who has to raze the terror outfit and salvage Mumbai from exploding into flames. Nothing can break this lion-hearted soldier who upholds his valour, wardi and values – like a true jawan. Murgadoss’ film (remake of the Tamil ‘Thupakki’) offers an intelligent plot, with blows, blasts and raw bone-cracking action (Greg Powell- of ‘Skyfall’ fame).

It triggers a fear that anyone from your paanwala to pizzadelivery boy could be a ‘closet’ terrorist (Beware!). While the core plot is compelling and finely directed, the side-tracks – like bombs needing to be deactivated and the romantic angle, waste screen-time and the songs infiltrate the plot too often. The film is too long and needs a taut edit.

It has flaws too, but doesn’t fail to entertain. Akshay’s stunts are jaw-dropping; he’s in top form and impressively leads the show without much support from his squadron of actors. Farhad (the lead villain) doesn’t leave much impact; and Sonakshi slides in for the song and dance. This one applauds the jawans who live in the jaws of death, and is a ‘wake up’ call for all the ‘sleepers’ that abound. Bravo!

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