He breezes through the campus of IIT in a dhoti and a choti riding a bicycle. He hacks traffic signals as easily as a toddler plays a video game, his vedic chants are at par with his knowledge of science and he has mastered the art of love quite early, meet Vasudev Shashtri or Vasu (Utkarsh Sharma) Bollywood’s new leading man who has a boyish charm and is undeniably endearing.
When a prolific veteran filmmaker like Anil Sharma who made box office game changers like GADAR: EK PREM KATHA, HUKUMAT etc announces his comeback by launching his son Utkarsh Sharma, the industry and the audience in general takes a note.
In GENIUS Anil Sharma decides to be in his forte and imagines Utkarsh Sharma as the chocolate boy version of his favorite Sunny Deol in his story of an orphan from Mathura Vasudev Shastri who is extra sharp and rooted in Indian ethos, traditions and value system, he tops IIT entrance and secretly works for RAW and falls for his classmate Nandini (Ishita Chauhan). After some glossy romance and couple of melodious numbers, Vasudev chooses his path and finds himself pitted against M.R.S. (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) – a genius on his own but on the wrong path. It’s basically the tried and tested good versus evil theme with patriotisms and cross border terrorisms thrown in.
While things like boyish charm goes well with the debutant Utkarsh and he wins heart with a confident portrayal in this potboiler that comes with a message in its core idea, the execution is mish mash and uneven. The script by Sunil Sirvaiya and Amjad Ali are the biggest spoilers as they don’t allow the character of Utkarsh which gets finely established find any dynamics in his graph later and is made to do things at will without proper explanation. The audience is left figuring out the ‘special’ quality of Vasu that makes him genius, at the most it is learnt that he has panache for Vedas and its reach in modern science. The idea of connecting the learning of Vedas with modern science could have created wonders but here it is restricted to just a ‘campus’ show. When the tussle between Vasu and M.R.S begins, surprisingly the brilliant idea of showing the conflict between ‘vedic gyan and vigyan’ is left to be rusted at every second. This spoils the film to a huge extent, Nawazuddin Siddiqui with his known heroics as an actor tries his best but he too is marred by a seriously injured script that demands immediate ICU.
GENIUS is an example of a terrific idea going haywire in its execution, it definitely had a ‘dil’ (heart) in the beginning but the ‘dimag’ ( brain) to execute in the way it should have been is missing. Anil Sharma who decides to stay in his ‘zone’ fails to add much nuances, there are flashes of his brilliance especially during the opening scene, the club dance and the shot where someone is washing his hand soaked in blood. But they are just glimpse and not the entire package. The makers try to do so many things in one film and pay the price.
Mithun Chakraborty adds dignity while Abhimanyu Singh, K K Raina, Ayesha Jhulka, Malti Chehar, Dev Gil all are wasted. The girl Ishita Chauhan is pretty.
Production values are fantastic. Najeeb Khan’s cinematography is fine. Bijon Das Gupta’s production design is first rate. Ashfaque Makrani’s editing leaves a lot to be desired.
Himesh Reshammiya’s music is melodious. ‘Tera Fitoor’, ‘Dil Meri Na Sune’ is the pick of the lot. Monty Sharma’s background score leaves its impact.
Apart from Utkarsh’s boyish charm, Himesh Reshammiya’s music, Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s flair of acting, GENIUS fails in getting qualified as a wholesome entertainer for which Anil Sharma is known for. But on a positive note, the movie does introduces a new charmer next door in Utkarsh.