AKIRA powerfully ups the ante of Sonakshi Sinha as an awesome, fearless, rough and tough action hero in AR Murugadoss assured edge of the seat thriller. The movie fights the directors 90's indulgence with some smartly beefed up acts by Anurag Kashyap for a gripping on screen bollywoodised women empowerment a la Murgadoss style.
Based on MOUNA GURU - the 2011 Tamil action thriller directed by Santha Kumar, the small gem that worked big for debutant Santha Kumar and its lead actor Arulnidhi, AR Murugadoss does the Hindi version of this song less but in no way pointless thriller with the same passion and commitment.
Changing the game by having a female protagonist instead of male in the original, AKIRA is destined to prove a game changer for actress Sonakshi Sinha who makes head turn more seriously after LOOTERA. And she doesn't need to break bones for that now.
Based on his own MOUNA GURU, Santha Kumar scripts the Hindi version and begins straightaway with a bang. Akira (Sonakshi Sinha) is one of three people lined up by a group of corrupt policemen to be killed in a fake encounter in a remote forests and why was AKIRA at the policeman's gun point get explained in an intriguing manner.
Akira as a child turned police witness to an acid attack case in Jodhpur (Rajasthan). While the police nab one of the attackers, his partner seeks revenge by attacking Akira in public place. Fear of future and further attacks forces Akira to learn self defense and become forthright.
One day she gets even with her attacker and in the process injures two more. The incident lands her in juvenile jail for a while.
Moving from Jodhpur to Mumbai, the movie takes an edgy turn when Akira is inadvertently drawn into a crime plot involving four policemen -- coke snorting ACP played by Anurag Kashyap and his three allies.
Portraying the irony of lawmakers taking law in their hands, the four in their attempt to squirrel away 'huge cash from a road accident, indulge in one crime after another leading to series of death and lies.
An honest police officer - Konkona Sen Sharma unravels the plot despite of her pregnancy in this taut thriller.
AR Murugadoss winning narration lies mainly in those properly build up sequences that up the adrenaline from time to time. Watch Anurag Kashyap interrogating Raai Laxmi and the entire encounter sequence. Brilliant.
Sonakshi Sinha cuts a terrific figure in AKIRA, coming exactly to terms with what is exactly required, Sonakshi kicks the right butts and 'khamoshes' (silences) her critique who considered her just a add on in those blockbusters starring super stars.
Anurag Kashyap as the evil coke snorting ACP is outstandingly menacing to the core. Konkona Sen Sharma chips in with valuable support and adds layers to the film. Raai Laxmi is good. Atul Kulkarni as Akira's deaf and dumb father is fine. Mishiekka Arora as young Akira does a good job. TAPAAL fame Nandu Madhav springs a surprise. Shyam Bhimsaria in the toilet scene brings smiles.
Anal Arasu's action rightly does the job of establishing Sonakshi Sinha's character and makes those action look convincing and doesn't go much overboard and super human.
John Stewart Eduri's cinematography is apt. R.D. Rajasekhar's editing is perfect though it starts with to and fro format but its crisp and without any fast cuttings and forced edgy feelings.
Another highlight of AKIRA is the characterization of Konkana Sen Sharma as a pregnant honest police officer who is ready to risk her future and puts her duties first before anything else. This creates a sharp contrast to the corrupt honest officers led by Anurag Kashyap who for a dream future are ready to take law in hands.
While AR Murugadoss does a commendable job in delivering a no nonsense almost song less thriller (a rarity) and even remarkably portrays the vulnerability of its characters, unfortunately it has its share of flaws which we cannot ignore.
The indulgence of 90's and his own cinema gets noticed for example the interest of Sonakshi towards Amit Sadh (completely wasted) due to his feelings for mentally challenged people - a la GAJANI where Aamir falls for Asin due to her concern for disables.
The climax is good but could have been bettered, more action packed for the adrenaline buffs and more inspiring. The second half lacks the sharpness and edge of the first half.
All said and done, AR Murugadoss directed AKIRA has the kind of tempting action thriller allure that edges other routine adrenaline with its constant edge of the seat excitement showing Sonakshi Sinha's in a power pack action avatar. Watch it.