White Guy Watches Bollywood

A random white guy engages with contemporary Indian cinema... one movie at a time

Deepika Padukone

Hindi Movie Review: Fighter is another top-notch blockbuster crowd-pleaser from Siddharth Anand and Hrithik Roshan

Hrithik Roshan stars in the new Hindi movie "Fighter," here reviewed by White Guy Watches Bollywood.

Much like its clear source of commercial inspiration, Top Gun: Maverick, Siddharth Anand’s Fighter knows how to play to audience tastes with filmmaking that’s skillful and self-aware enough that it never feels pandering in an icky way. And while it may be playing in the same sandbox as the Tom Cruise megahit, it entirely justifies its own existence, strongly executing each genre component of its masala mashup (drama, action, romance, buddy ensemble). From very early on in the movie, we know exactly how it is going to end, but that doesn’t make us any less engaged by what it’s dishing out. Fighter is perfectly calibrated popcorn entertainment.

Co-writer/director Anand brought us last year’s Pathaan and 2019’s War, and he once again proves himself to be one of Bollywood’s cleanest commercial craftsmen. That might seem like a backhanded compliment, insofar as it implies a “sanitized” body of work aimed at the widest audience possible. But I mean it as a sincere commendation: it isn’t easy to consistently deliver movies catering to mass tastes that retain their elegance and their vitality. This achievement was a big part of what made Top Gun: Maverick such a big worldwide word-of-mouth sensation, and Anand is able to achieve the same feat in his films. Yes, they follow the expected beats, but they do so in a way that reminds us of why the beats exist in the first place.

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