It is the season to be jolly. And boy oh boy,if it’s a festive fiesta of flamboyant filminess that you’re looking for, then Action Replayy is your one-stop masti mela. It’s is a feisty feast, as splashy in colour and mood as it’s tangy in flavour and fervour.
Serving up its delectable back-to-the-future core idea from H G Wells’ Time Machine, Action Replayy is a tongue-in-cheesy retro-romp replete with ostentatious replicas of the 1970s which make us smile and chuckle and sometimes groan and gasp almost simultaneously.
In many ways the film’s over-the-top zip-zap-zoom zest and rippling ritziness resonate the sparkling era-aura of V. Shantaram’s cinema where the art director was allowed to go amok with the colours all in the name of art. If Shantaram had his roots in Gujarati theatre he would have happily made Action Replayy, though he’d have probably titled it Jhanak Jhanak Pritam Baaje.
The film’s team, and that includes Pritam Chakraborty’s hummable score, goes blissfully berserk with the light, sound, fury, and action.
Regrettably there are passages of conversation that do not work their mirthful magic. Aatish Kapadia’s writing skills seem to slacken in the dialogues. For a film that’s so funny in its theme the treatment needed more spicing in the spoken words. The humour is more of a transient rumour than a hardcore brush with bravura and bacchanalia. The lines are so corny at times you wonder if they are meant to be homages to the 1970s or are just plain trite illustrations of uninspired dialogue-baazi.
A lot of the film’s chirpy chutzpah emanates not from the spoken words but the innate charm of the principal players. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan-Akshay Kumar…gosh, could it get any more inviting?! It does!!! The young semi-debutant Aditya Roy Kapoor (he was seen earlier in a small part in Vipul Shah’s London Dreams) with his unruly mop of hair follows no set patterns of film acting. He is a reveller without a pause. He chooses to be a natural in a film where artifice and affectation are the key to effectuality.
Akshay and Aishwarya get it right. From playing the cranky quarrelsome couple in contemporary times to playing the flirty frisky eyeball-rotating archetypal ‘Kishen’ and ‘Mala’ in the 1970s the two super-charismatic stars seem to have a ball sinking their glistening teeth into a lost word retrieved restored and saturated in flamboyant colours. Aishwarya looks like a long-lost dream. Akshay, deliberately echoes a fashion nightmare from the 1970s.
Apart from the three principal actors (Maa, Baap and Bitter) the other characters are just not fleshed out in any detail. A pity. Vipul Shah is not adept with incidental characters…remember Katrina Kaif’s boyrfriend(played by Upen Patel) in the director’s best work Namaste London? The guy was so not-there he registered for not being there.
Action Replayy gives you no opportunity to look around at the non-pivotal peripheral people. It swamps your senses with its over-saturated canvas of lights, colours, sounds, and visuals.
So who says life in the 1970s was bereft of bustle? While Sejal Shah’s cinematography and Aparna Raina’s art work is more provocative than evocative, Shabina Khan’s costumes indicate she hasn’t really seen the 1970s. Maybe she should’ve traveled back in time with Aditya Roy Kapoor, quite comfortably the male discovery of the year.