A Gentleman Review

‘Risky’ Rishi kills two Thai policemen, unmindful of international intrigue, who were trying to just control the violence that suddenly erupted in their neighborhood between two groups of armed individuals; 10 minutes later he objects to one of his fellow agents killing an innocent street food vendor who’s parked next to their getaway vehicle.

These two incidents are representative of the moral dichotomy that plagues the two types of gentlemen played by Malhotra (spoiler: Rishi isn’t that gentle). Gaurav is an upcoming sales executive and new American home-owner while Rishi is a highly-skilled extra-governmental special forces operative in “Unit X”, which clandestinely works for Indian authorities. How they come together is a fun pre-interval denouement, hitherto unexplored in Indian cinema.

What Salaam Namaste started, A Gentleman is continuing: the normalisation/generalisation of a more contemporary morality. Dil Chahta Hai pointed out a change in values but still went for a standard Bollywood ending.

Living in, casual sex, interracial marriages, a black hitman who loves Puran Poli aka “This Indian Shit” but hates when Desis “talk Indian”, LGBT innuendo in not completely bigoted scenarios, as well as Netflix and Chill are all part of A Gentleman’s cinematic lexicon, sans Sanskaar or a lecturing morality.

An earlier music review of the film states that it’s essentially millennial, without emphasizing so. It must take after the actual film, reflective of directors Raj and DK, who’s previous films displayed a similar “Western” aesthetic (we still adore “Go Goa Gone”). This isn’t cinema, as the critics would define it, but it is a damn fun film. There’s even a garden gnome on Gaurav’s suburban Miami lawn.

Also, a tip of the hat to the film’s product placement. It’s highlighted without being obvious, so well done. We’re definitely buying some Euro sleeveless cotton vests (in grey) and Ching’s condiments next time we go shopping.

With elements of Mark Wahlberg’s The Big Hit (secondary antagonist Darshan Kumaar even resembles the original’s Lou Diamond Phillips character in attire and personality) and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s True Lies, A Gentleman still retains its own masala, which includes a Gujju-American gangster – “Jignesh bhai”, Kavya’s matchmaking parents essayed perfectly by Supriya Pilgaonkar and Rajit Kapur with Gaurav ka dost, Dikshit (Hussain Dalal), lawful NRI turned badass. There’s also a nice homage to Along Came Polly, see if you spot it.

Jacqueline has gotten quite a bit of flak over her body of work (pun unintended). However, while she definitely ornaments the visuals of this film, as Gaurav’s colleague Kavya, she also seems to have found her metier with a comic timing that rivals US sitcom fan favorites. And speaking of finding one’s metier, Suniel Shetty makes for a brilliant rogue militant leader. His character’s motivation in this particular film is money rather than inter-country politics, but woh hain na.

And when it comes to Sidharth, well. He still gives out a nice-guy vibe, whether he’s murdering inept but harmless policemen or stopping the murder of his paramour. He’s basically India’s Martin Freeman (Watson in BBC’s Sherlock). And you can see him as both the dull Gaurav and deadly Rishi. He’s a nice guy; no wonder Kavya’s parents love him, despite some misconceptions.

In conclusion, this is a gentleman you can introduce to friends as well as family.

Rating: 3/5

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4 thoughts on “A Gentleman Review

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