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Yo duh! The Sidharth Malhotra film is hijacked by its poor storytelling – Beyond Bollywood

Lightning strikes twice, but the real misfortune stems from its insipid screenplay, direction Sidharth Malhotra wages a lone battle but it can’t save this self-destructive film.

Rating: ⭐️ (1 / 5)

By Mayur Lookhar

Never judge a book by its cover, and a film by its trailer. Honestly, the Yodha (2024) trailer was intriguing, holding promise for a fine action (hijack)  drama.

The director duo of Sagar Ambre, Pushkar Ojha aren’t big names, but Yodha is produced by bigwigs – Dharma Productions, Amazon Prime, and Shashank Khaitan. Sidharth Malhotra, Dharma, Amazon had earlier combined to give the acclaimed biopic Shershaah (2021). The Yodha trailer raised aspirations for another fine patriotic, action film.

The makers have claimed it to be a work of pure fiction. It’s hard to dispute it, but the place where the plane is hijacked does draw one’s attention to the infamous hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC-814 in 1999. The world knows what happened then. The then Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led coalition government drew some flak for freeing three dangerous terrorists, including Maulana Masood Azhar, in return for the safety of all passengers and crew. Hijacking of Indian passenger aircrafts was a nuisance in the late 70s, early 80s. The situation improved for a while before the unprecedented hijacking of IC-814.

Yodha is based in 2001 but like IC-814, the origin of hijacking happens to be Amritsar. Oh dear, you fear whether Yodha will throw up any fantasy. Thankfully, the reel events in 2001 doesn’t alter the reality of 1999. It’s brave on the part of Yodha makers to blame the then Indian government for the unsuccessful reel operation. So, that categorically rules out Yodha as any propaganda film.

What is this Yodha though? In this fictional world, Yodha is a special unit of India’s elite commandos. It was perhaps created in the 80s by Major Katyal (Ronit Roy). Albeit fiction, a Yodha has to be sanctioned by Indian government, Armed Forces. So, it is naive to call Yodha, the creation of Katyal.

(Kindly note, the period also rules out Yodha being any Agni Veer, the Indian government’s recruitment scheme for youth to join the Armed Forces for a period of four years).

Years later, his son Arun (Sidharth Malhotra) becomes a Yodha. Arun is travelling as a passenger when this commercial aircraft is hijacked in Amritsar.

Yodha’s cleverly crafted trailer gave no inkling of the larger plot. Let’s just say that the post 2001 events reek of ‘Tiger’ syndrome. Any more word here, would be a reveal.

It’s not the sense of déjà vu, but the chaotic writing, screenplay that spells trouble for Yodha. Writer, co-director Sagar Ambre cops much of the blame for such unconvincing plot(s). Is this how he had envisaged the first draft? We sensed structural deficiencies in the screenplay, which also reflects poorly on the film’s editor. Yodha is puzzling at times making you wonder whether 2001 is repeating itself on the present day? An average viewer is bound to be confused over what really is unfolding before him/her? The Karan Johar-produced film is stuck in its turbulent screenplay. Yodha takes a nosedive once the action begins from Delhi airport few years later.

Sidharth Malhotra has come a long way from his Student of the  Year [2012] days. He was nearly written off before Shershaah [2021] came to his rescue. His subsequent films have not clicked at the box-office, nor earned rave reviews, but there is growth. Malhotra is sincere in his efforts as Yodha Arun Katyal, showing fine intensity especially in the action scenes. He, however, is weighed down by the poor writing.

Raashii Khanna

Raashii Khanna impressed in Farzi [2023], her debut in the Hindi space. She plays Priyamvada, a secretary in the PMO, and also the wife of Arun. Being in PMO implies that she is largely seen in a saree. Her act though borders on farzi (fake).

Disha Patani in Yodha [2024]

Disha Patani looks fab in her air hostess avatar. She scorches in the red saree. After spending 7-8 years, one can’t be raving about her beauty in every film. The actor Patani still cuts a sorry figure. She, however, impresses with her action moves.

Unconvincing in their acts, the saree-clad leading women are more fit to be ambassadors of Nalli.

Sunny Hinduja

Sunny Hinduja has the physical attributes to play a beast, but is let down by poor writing and average acting.

Sidharth Malhotra is the lone actor to put up a respectable show. However, the Shah Rukh Khan tribute (or dig) isn’t amusing. It’s not Khan, but civil aviation experts who are likely to question the in-flight action. The ‘Tiger’ syndrome will irk the Boycott Bollywod brigade but it may displease diplomacy on the Indian side. The penultimate drama, punches turn into unintentional comedy.

For a couple of tracks, Yodha roped in a host of names but none could give a decent number.

The most bizarre aspect of the film is how it is co-produced by Amazon Prime. Once Covid-19 abated, it’s perceived that OTT networks order most Bollywood producers to test their film at theatres. As the co-producer, why would Amazon take that risk? There mayne external pressures though with a Karan Johar, Malhotra desiring a theatrical release. The medium though matters little as Yodha is hijacked by its poor storytelling. 

Watch the video review below. 


Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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