Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone, Anil Kapoor, Karan Singh Grover, Akshay Oberoi
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Fighter Review: “Meri Jehad Azadi Ke Liye, Jab Tak Aap Yeh Video Dekh Rehe Honge, Main Jannat Ke Maze Lut Raha Honga”, says a young boy representing the Jaish-e-Mohammed, in a video warming the Indian Air Force. Base in Jammu and Kashmir.
Meet the Air Dragons a distinguished core of the best pilots in the Indian Air Force, who have been assigned to protect the Indian skies and being trained for a special air strike mission Daredevil officer Sq Leader Shamsher Pathania( Hrithik Roshan) aka Patty, a maverick, a daredevil, who thrives on risks. Sq Leader Minal Rathore( Deepika Padukone) aka Mimi, the only woman in the corp along with Taj (Karan Singh Grover) and Bash (Akshay Oberoi), are led by Rakesh Jaisingh aka Rocky (Anil Kapoor).
However, the Indian Force is caught unaware as a convoy of vehicles carrying Indian security personnel is bombed in Pulwama.
“Hindustan Ki Zameen Hum Hindustan Ke Logon se Barbad Karwayenge”, says Rishabh Sawhney’s Azhar Akhtar, the mastermind behind previous attacks from Istanbul, to Kabul as well as 26/11 Mumbai.
This sets the plot of Siddharth Anand’s Fighter, a year after his box office blitzkrieg Pathan in 2023.
The film is an ode to the Indian Air Force but distinctively reminds one of Tom Cruise’s 1986 blockbuster Top Gun. The story of a Naval Pilot Lt Mitchell aka Maverick who is haunted by ghosts of his past is given a chance to redeem himself. There are several cues taken from Too Gun and its sequel Maverick. The characters of Maverick and Patty bear striking resemblances. They both are men carrying scars of their past. They are the best in the business but are lone rangers, unheeding when it comes to protocol. They butt heads with their superiors in this case Patty Vs Rocky. Rocky tells him that his ego will be the end of him and his forces.
From the dog fighting sequences to when Patty is removed from the Air Warriors and transferred to another base as an instructor, one recalls Top Gun/ Maverick.
But despite its Top Gun similarities, Fighter soars high on the patriotic sentiment, celebrating the bravado of the Indian Armed Forces, which is long overdue. A high-octane commercial fare, Fighter does not disappoint in its execution, even though the jingoistic plot is a bit campy…
So what works for Fighter. Hrithik Roshan! It’s his show all the way, his commanding screen presence apart the actor is a true blue star who wears his stripes with ease. The actor is convincing in every aspect as the “Fighter”, a soldier who is passionate about whatever he does.
Deepika Padukone’s entry as Minal Rathore is impressive. Also with women taking to combat in the Indian Forces, her character drives home a point, abilities cannot be classified based on gender.
Though the love story is a bit unconvincing, and we could have well done away with some of the songs.
Fighter takes off and lands smoothly even though it reminds one of a desi version of Top Gun.