“Tum smile bhi kar sakte ho?” (You can smile too?), a character asks Rocky (Abraham), to which he reacts with a sheepish half-smile that almost proves her right. Kamat seems to acknowledge his leading man’s limits. He stays away from the lead-like face and focuses on his rippling muscles, giving him next to no dialogue (Abraham utters around 20 lines in the two-hour film) and populating the movie with so many outlandish characters and plot lines that Abraham’s catatonic state might be more appealing to the viewer.
This is a film where a police officer suggests sending a threatening email to the president of the United States from the email ID of a criminal whose data he wants to access. This way, he tells his awestruck colleagues, the CIA will ask India for his details and in the process, provide access to all his records.
As if this isn’t enough, Kamat plays a role in the film — a drug lord who also dabbles in the organ trade along with his brother (Teddy Maurya), an unhinged maniac who flies into rages for unlikely reasons. When Rocky’s neighbour, a single mother and bar dancer (Nathalia Kaur), steals a drug consignment belonging to the brothers, the dealers kidnap her and her daughter. Rocky, who shares a special bond with the daughter, comes out of a self-imposed hibernation to save them.
Kamat’s ability to turn a good original film into a credible remake was suspect even in his last film “Drishyam”, but “Rocky Handsome” is solid proof that Bollywood can ruin even the most straightforward of remakes. There are stereotypes galore, deafening background music and lots of blood and gore. Some of the action sequences are executed well, but that is about the only saving grace.
The big lesson of “Rocky Handsome” is that John Abraham might be a master of muscles and swinging knives, but that doesn’t make him an actor.