'Holiday'- Fast Paced, Exhilarating Roller-Coaster Ride

BANGALORE: Let me stick my neck out just this once to say "Holiday - A Soldier Is Never Off Duty" is going to be a huge success. It has all the trappings of a superlative masala entertainer, plus a thought provoking message on the uneasy relationship between the army and civilians. Hence army man Virat Bakshi (Akshay Kumar, in top form) who is home for a vacation uses the time to fall in love with an arranged match and also save Mumbai from a sleeper cell terrorist attack, which threatens to plunder the city.

He is a busy man. So is director A.R. Murugadoss. They both are on the same mission. While Akshay saves the city, his director rescues the masala fare from the blemishes of blandness that it has acquired lately.

Just how Murugadoss manages to mix the dark theme of terrorism with a palatable mainstream cinematic platter served with dollops of pickles and 'papad' is a marvel.

The director's earlier film "Ghajini" was another landmark of mainstream filmmaking. It suffered from excessive violence and too many resemblances to a Hollywood film ("Memento") to be dismissed as coincidental. In "Holiday", Murugadoss is more in charge of the proceedings. Having Akshay at the helm helps. He is a man of the streets and yet capable of looking completely convincing as a larger than life hero. This is Akshay's most chiselled and restrained yet boisterous and exuberant performance to date.

It's just as hard to imagine "Holiday" without Akshay as it is to imagine last week's elegiac and thoughtful "Citylights" without Rajkummar Rao. They both breathe life into their characters from different respiratory systems. We often tend to think the grammar and language of mainstream cinema to be far easier to convey than the language of the so-called serious cinema.

Wrong! A full-on massy product, which doesn't resort to outlandish inanities or outright vulgarity, is the most difficult form of filmmaking. In "Holiday", Murugadoss has some absolutely unflinching support from his writers and technicians, all out to create that increasingly elusive cinematic entity . The perfect entertainer.

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Source: IANS