Ayushmann Khurrana packs a punch in this average action thriller

An Action Hero Story: Maanav (Ayushmann Khurrana), a Bollywood megastar action hero and popular youth icon, falls from grace when he is caught up in a dramatic real-life incident that forces him to run for his life.

An Action Hero Review: Anirudh Iyer’s directorial debut delves into celebrity culture and the fickle side of fame. Most famous personalities are vulnerable to public backlash and media trials, and this works as the central theme of this 132-minute action-packed drama. On the face of it, ‘An Action Hero’ is a simple revenge story, but the screenplay transforms it into a twisted tale of a superstar, who finds himself in an extraordinary situation. It is a juicy plot, and Iyer, who has co-written the film with Neeraj Yadav, maintains a steady grip on the narrative for the most part.

The film features Ayushmann Khurrana in a never-before-seen avatar. In contrast to his previous socially-relevant dramas, here, he plays Maanav, a buffed-up Bollywood action hero who wears his stardom on his sleeve. Soon, Maanav loses track of reality, especially when the antagonist, Bhoora Solanki (Jaideep Ahlawat), the Municipal Councillor of Mandothi village (Haryana), blames the star for his brother’s mysterious death. As a result, they indulge in a cat-and-mouse game. Will the on-screen action hero be able to hold his own when hardcore action unfolds in his real life?

Iyer takes a bit long in setting up the plot, most of the first half is spent on that. However, the second half picks pace and becomes an all-out action film with several elements to keep you hooked. The problem is, the random characters introduced throughout the film who don’t add up much to the drama but to the length of the film.

It’s Ayushmann Khurrana and Jaideep Ahlawat show all the way, as they hold the film’s narrative together. Ayushmann gets ample scope to live his Maanav’s multi-layered character, who is a strong, arrogant and flamboyant personality as an actor, yet, vulnerable when fate makes him live like an ordinary man running to save his life. He gives it his all to make Maanav’s persona appealing. The actor’s physical transformation for the film is evident and lends credibility to his action-hero avatar. Jaideep’s performance and his Haryanvi accent are bang-on. His character lacks depth, but he throws in some of the funniest seeti-maar punches in the film. There’s a degree of uncertainty in his actions that comes from the goodness in his character, which adds to the hilarity of the scenes. There is a decent blend of comedy and action and some laugh-out-loud dialogues that stand out.

Nora Fatehi and Malaika Arora’s dance numbers to reprised versions of ‘Jehda Nasha‘ and ‘Aap Jaisa Koi,’ respectively, bring in the dose of oomph factor. The background score complements the ongoing drama and establishes the tone of the film.

Not everything in the plot adds up and you wish the film was tighter, but it does have a fair dose of action and comedy backed with good performances. The interesting thing about ‘An Action Hero’ is not so much the story itself, but seeing Ayushmann Khurrana get into the skin of an action hero and flex his muscles (literally) on screen. For that, maybe, you can make a trip to the theatres.

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