Nikkamma : A brutally honest review of the trailer

Nikkamma : A brutally honest review of the trailer

Nikkamma : A brutally honest review of the trailer

Sabbir Khan was once producer Sajid Nadiadwala’s blue-eyed boy. He directed such masterpieces for Nadiadwala—yes, I am being sarcastic—as Kambakkt Ishq (a nonsensical Akshay Kumar-Kareena Kapoor starrer which also featured Sylvester Stallone), Heropanti (which introduced Tiger Shroff to civilization) and Baaghi.

Then Sabbir had a noisy fall-out with Naidiadwala who replaced Sabbir with another Khan, (Ahmed) as his blue-eyed director. After struggling for nearly five years Sabbir is back with a feature film.

Nikamma has Abhimanyu Dassani in the title role. That isn’t such a bad thing. If you’ve seen Dassani in the quirky though overrated Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota and more recently the bland but sweet Meenakshi Sundareshwar you would know the chap knows how to act, fight and do whatever a Hindi film hero is supposed to.

Nikamma gives him a chance to do all of this, and more. But hang on. No need for the Dassani fan club (presuming there is such a thing) to start celebrating. There is a hitch here: This role of a smooth slacker has already been done in Telugu by the ever-so-charismatic Nani in a 2017 film called Middle Class Abbayi.

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Nani is a star. He can pull off such a role with the ease of a pro. I am not too sure the audience will rush to watch Abhimanyu Dassani do a Nani, although he seems to be very comfortable doing all the things that filmy heroes do, including looking out for the family. But trust me, Nikamma should go to the OTT platform.

Shilpa Shetty who plays Dassani’s sister-in-law(that was what Bhumika Chawla played in the original) jumps into the trailer wearing Gal Gadot’s outfit. If clothes maketh a man, then I guess the same applies to woman well. Though not this one. Shilpa’s “grand” entry into the plot looks like a bit of a mirthless joke.

She has neither the oomph of Gadot nor the chutzpah of a superwoman. It’s hard to categorize Ms Shetty in any of the slots that commercial Hindi cinema has for 40-plus actresses since she wants to be that 40-plus oddity for which Indian audiences are not quite ready: a hottie and she is just not relevant enough for Hindi cinema to invent an all-new genre for her.

Interestingly the focus of dramatic tension in Nikamma is the Dassai-Shetty duo, though there is a love interest for Dassani, played by Shirley Setia.

Before I forget, the Nikamma trailer also features a remix version of the hit song Nikamma kiya iss dil ne from the super-flop Tushhar Kapoor-Esha Deol 2002 film Kyaa Dil Ne Kahaa. The one exhilarating talk point that one gets out of the Nikamma trailer is the song about the wastrel from a long-forgotten film. The rest is humdrum.

Subhash K Jha is a Patna-based film critic who has been writing about Bollywood for long enough to know the industry inside out. He tweets at @SubhashK_Jha.

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