Two years after his debut film Heropanti, India’s rising star Tiger Shroff is back in his second feature film, Baaghi, also known as Baaghi: A Rebel for Love. While his debut film was an entertaining first performance of the young star, there was still a lot of room for improvement. With his second film, Shroff again teamed up with Heropanti‘s director Sabbir Khan to bring an action-filled flick.
Baaghi follows Ronny (Shroff), a young rebel who doesn’t listen to anyone and does his own thing. He joins a martial arts school to be disciplined, fulfilling his father’s dying wish. It would have done the film good to focus primarily on Ronny’s development as a human being as he transforms from a rebel without a cause, to a rebel with a cause. Unfortunately, this part of the story kind of lingers in the background, as the main stage is reserved for a melodramatic love story between Ronny and Sia (Shraddha Kapoor) and the villainous Raghav (Sudheer Babu Posani) that comes between them. It makes the story very thin; an excuse to bring us to the action.
This is where the beating heart of the film lies, at the action.
Shroff’s first film had some satisfying martial arts goodies, but it suffered from its overuse of slow-motion and most of it was over in a second. Baaghi is definitely an improvement. It is filled with more stunts and longer fights, although there is still a tad too much slow-motion (so if you like that, you’ll be pleased) and obvious wire work to be seen. Some of the action kind of misses an impact, but Shroff clearly worked hard and it is all entertaining enough to keep you interested as he kicks and punches his way through antagonist after antagonist. During the last 20 minutes, the concept is borrowed from the Indonesian action smash The Raid, and kind of ends up feeling like a lesser version of that film. However, it is a more satisfying finale than Heropanti brought with Shroff giving us more of his impressive skill set.
Shroff’s acting is still not at the same level as his impressive martial arts skills, but he is clearly getting more comfortable in the acting department. The other stars hardly leave an impression, with Kapoor playing the leading lady that also kicks some butt from time to time and talks to the rain (yes, you read that correctly) and Posani as a pissed off pretty boy bad guy.
The film also suffers from melodramatic overload and the song and dance sequences are easy to forget. I still feel that Shroff deserves better as a leading man, and perhaps the future will bring him such a project. He and director Khan clearly have a liking for one another as their next project together, Munna Michael, will be released soon in 2017.
Baaghi was a hit in India, and part 2 is in pre-production with a teaser poster already released at time of writing. It promises to bring more action and adventure in the mix, and with Shroff growing into the industry as an athletic action superstar, we can all hope that part 2 will be an improvement to this film. It isn’t all bad, as most of the action saves it, but it just isn’t a very good film overall. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a no-brainer Indian action flick to spent two hours with, Baaghi might do the trick.