Tahir Raj Bhasin is a special talent – and while he makes the film watchable, even he can’t save it.
It’s oddly fitting that John Abraham, whose biceps usually give his t-shirts’ sleeves a tough time, has finally begun choosing roles that barely expect him to act. His last three films, Rocky Handsome, Dishoom and the latest release, Force 2, have just required him to glare, break bones and shoot bullets. In Force 2, for instance, Abraham’s character, Yash, an assistant commissioner of police, smiles less than a dozen times. (The second smile comes way after the interval. Yes, I was counting.) Scene after scene is a photocopy of a photocopy, of Abraham and his stock mannerisms: a gun in his hand, revenge in his heart and nothing in his head.
However, the main problem with Force 2, which, to its credit, starts with some amount of intrigue, is that it takes itself too seriously too soon. You don’t want a regular Bollywood potboiler to be mirthless. Because what’s the point? It’s not that the film’s going to care about realism, attention to detail, credible plot points (and an escapist masala fare can work despite these), so you at least expect it to lighten up, to pretend less. But Force 2, for the most part of its first half, as if following Abraham’s cue, is unforgivably boring. That changes, though, when the film’s villain, Shiv, played by a young actor called Tahir Raj Bhasin, comes on screen.
Although Bhasin is only two films old (debuting as an antagonist in the Rani Mukherjee-starrer Mardani), he is, without doubt, a special talent who one only hopes doesn’t get defeated or dissuaded by Bollywood. Bhasin, just by virtue of his presence, by his very sense of being, makes a scene immensely watchable. And what’s more impressive is that nothing about his performance seems laboured. After long, we’ve a Bollywood villain who doesn’t look like a type, looks suave and urbane, calm and assured, firing off one sarcastic line after another, topping it off with a wry smile, mocking and exasperating the hero, as if rejecting his machismo. Bhasin’s characters also seem real and ordinary. They are, on the surface, people like us; however, given that there’s an evil, untrammelled side to them, makes them unsettling and compelling.
Force 2 benefits immensely from his presence. In fact, he’s such a sharp and welcome contrast to both Abraham and Sonakshi Sinha, acting in every staid way possible, that you may end up secretly rooting for him. But although Bhasin can make this film tolerable, he can’t save it. Because there’s barely anything new about it – nothing that can suck you deep into its story, make you want to know what happens next. The familiar can be made enjoyable too, if the storytelling’s remarkable or joyful, but, in the case of Force 2, it’s neither. Even the action sequences, the forte of a film like this, seem to be overcompensating, with needless points of view shots and jumpy, shaky camera movements. Force 2 sits comfortably in the annals of forgettable Bollywood actioners. And it’s not surprising. Which is sad.