Tevar, starring Arjun Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha, is an exhausting film. The kind that leaves you feeling like you’ve just run the marathon…but with none of the satisfaction, or the sense of achievement that comes with reaching the finish line.
Set in and around the lawless stretches of North India, and centered on a young pair that’s on the run from a sadistic villain, this film is the latest in a long line of exceedingly violent, machismo-celebrating Telugu remakes. What’s wrong with that, you ask? Well, where do I start? It has a plot that kicks in only after the first hour, a story whose every beat is familiar, stock characters that do and say predictable things, and innumerable songs that drag the narrative needlessly. Oh, and all this unfolds over an excruciating 2 hours and 40 minutes!
Pintu (Arjun Kapoor), a cocky Agra boy, describes himself as a blend of Salman Khan, Rambo and Terminator. The rival-vanquishing attributes of those larger-than-life heroes serve Pintu well when he finds himself on the wrong side of UP’s ruthless political mafia after he rescues a helpless Mathura girl, Radhika (Sonakshi Sinha), from the Home Minister’s sleazy brother Gajinder Singh (Manoj Bajpai) who is forcibly trying to marry her.
Cut from the same cloth as 2013’s revolting Shahid Kapoor starrer R..Rajkumar, but mercifully less crude and offensive, Tevar revels in making you wince at its repeated scenes of brutal violence. Thugs wielding everything from swords and guns to sticks and knives put their weapons to good use, slashing and dicing upright journalists, stubborn corporators, and just about anyone who dares stand in their way. It’s a messy blood-fest, but to be fair, director Amit Sharma shoots the action with requisite flair.
Arjun Kapoor slips nicely into tough-guy mode, even surviving such ridiculous lines as this: “Jo chane chabate hain, woh badaam ke paad nahin maarte”. But it’s his scenes with his family – particularly his banter with his feisty younger sister – that are his best moments in the film. Sonakshi Sinha, playing another simpering damsel in another South remake, once again has nothing to do. She appears content showing up for a few dance numbers, and waiting around for a man to save her. Expectedly the scene-stealer in Tevar is Manoj Bajpai, who brings real vim to this been-there-seen-that premise, giving us an utterly despicable but consistently watchable villain.
Aside from a few striking scenes, like one in which Pintu throws Radhika off a building when Gajinder and his goons have cornered them, Sharma doesn’t do anything particularly new or original with this decidedly 80s formulaic film. The only thing worse than the fact that Tevar is so long is that you’ve seen all of this many times before.
I’m going with a generous two out of five. I came away with a throbbing headache.