Fox Star Studios, Lionsgate, Dharma Productions and Endemol India’s Brothers (UA) is the story of two estranged brothers. Destiny pits the two against each other in a tournament of mixed martial arts.
David Fernandes (Akshay Kumar) and Monty Fernandes (Sidharth Malhotra) are brothers but they can’t see eye to eye. Their father, Garson Fernandes (Jackie Shroff), has just been released after serving a long jail term and, once home, he is missing his late wife, Maria (Shefali Shah). Garson lives with Monty but he also misses elder son David. It is soon revealed that David holds his father and brother responsible for the death of his mother, because of which he lives separately with his wife, Jenny (Jacqueline Fernandez), and six-year-old daughter, Maria alias Poopoo (baby Naisha Khanna).
Garson goes to apologise to David but the latter literally pushes him out of his house. Seeing David use force on their dad, Monty tries to get even with David but Garson stops the two from fighting.
David’s little daughter is suffering from a kidney ailment because of which he is always short of funds as a lot of money is needed for her treatment. The bank has refused to renew his loan and David and Jenny are nervous about how they would meet the medical expenses. Left with no other option, David, who used to be a street fighter like his father, gets back into the deadly sport of street fighting. Since street fights, which are illegal, are very dangerous, Jenny is unhappy but she also knows that they would have to supplement their family income in this way. Once David gets into street fighting, he is asked to leave his job of a Physics teacher, by the school principal (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) who is, incidentally, very fond of David. Monty Fernandes is also a street fighter and a very good one at that.
Peter Braganza (Kiran Kumar), who has been trying hard to get the government to legalise street fighting in India, finally meets with success. He announces an international tournament of mixed martial arts in India – Right To Fight (R2F) – and among the Indians selected are David and Monty.
While Garson is, of course, rooting for Monty when he is pitted against different fighters, his heart also goes out to David and he is nervous as hell each time David is in the ring. As luck would have it, the two finalists are David and Monty. While Garson had rejoiced every time David and Monty had won, he is simply not prepared for what Fate has ordained – now that his two sons would be pitted against one another in the dangerous sport.
What happens thereafter? Who wins and who loses? Why does David hold Monty and Garson responsible for his mother’s death?
The film is an official remake of Hollywood film Warrior. The original story has been written by Gavin O’Connor and Cliff Dorfman and it has a good emotional thread running throughout the drama. The emotions stem from various angles – two brothers; estranged father-son; little daughter suffering from kidney ailment. Besides, because the two main protagonists in the film are adept at mixed martial arts, the story also has a lot of action. The screenplay, penned by Gavin O’Connor, Cliff Dorfman and Anthony Tambakis, and adapted in Hindi by Ekta Pathak Malhotra, is very engaging and engrossing. Yes, the first half moves at a somewhat slow pace but the interest level of the audience doesn’t decline because there are various sub-plots and also because the drama keeps throwing up unpredictable turns and twists. The pace picks up after interval because the second half is completely devoted to the R2F tournament. The fights are not just exciting but also emotional because the writers have juxtaposed the breathtaking action with a lot of emotions. The emotional scenes may not evoke tears from the eyes except in the case of the weak-hearted but they do move the viewers. What the audience definitely misses in the post-interval portion is the track of David’s little girl and her illness. But the emotions in the intercuts during the deadly fights are very strong. Likewise, the emotions in the very last fight between David and Monty, brought out through intercuts as well as through the few dialogues they speak in the ring, are very effective. Siddharth-Garima have done a swell job of the dialogues. Special mention must be made of the dialogues spoken by the two commentators at the R2F tournament. They are very entertaining. Several emotional dialogues are also truly touching.
Akshay Kumar portrays the angst of an estranged son/brother very effectively. If he is very good in emotional and dramatic scenes, he is simply splendid in the action sequences. He looks every inch the character he plays. Sidharth Malhotra is also very good in a subdued role. He lets his eyes and body do the talking in several scenes – and to good effect. He is excellent in the MMA fights. Jacqueline Fernandez springs a surprise in a non-glamorous role and plays Jenny rather well. Jackie Shroff is absolutely outstanding in a tailor-made role. He is terrific in emotional scenes and may well bag nominations, if not awards, for best supporting actor. Shefali Shah is fantastic as Maria Fernandes. She shows that she is one of the best, in the scene in which she first meets little Monty. Baby Naisha Khanna is cute and endearing. Ashutosh Rana is a delight to watch. The scene in which he abuses David’s opponent is superb. Kiran Kumar is good in the role of Peter Braganza. Raj Zutshi and Kavi Shastri are just too lovely as the two commentators. Kulbhushan Kharbanda deserves distinction marks for his wonderful acting in the scenes showing his nervousness while watching the R2F tournament on television. Those scenes provide the audience the much-needed relief because he evokes laughter. Ashok Lokhande is natural as Monty’s coach. Master Zubin Vicky Driver is superb as David’s student, Swami. Kareena Kapoor Khan provides sex, glamour and oomph in an item song, ‘Mera naam Mary hai’. Master Arsh Gyani (as young David), master Darsheel Kumar (as young Monty), master Meghan Jadhav (as the slightly grown-up David) and master Prateik Bhanushali (as the slightly grown-up Monty) are very lovable and very good in their performances. Ramneeka Lobo acts with effortless ease as the lady in the panel discussion on television. Chandra Prakash (as announcer), Honey Sharma (as Mustafa), Abbas Haider (as Suleman), Sukanya Dhanda (as the principal’s wife) and the others lend very good support.
Karan Malhotra’s direction is wonderful. He has integrated the action and emotional scenes very beautifully and his use of intercuts is simply remarkable. Ajay-Atul’s music is not of the popular variety except for the ‘Mera naam Mary hai’ song which is mass-appealing, but the other songs also have an impact in the film. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are weighty. Choreography of the ‘Mary’ song (by Ganesh Acharya) is lovely. Choreography of the other songs (by Chinni Prakash and Brinda) is in keeping with the film’s mood. Ajay-Atul’s background music is extraordinary. Hemant Chaturvedi’s camerawork is remarkable. Justin Yu and Eric Brown’s action sequences are of the kind never before seen on the Hindi screen. The fights are literally breathtaking. Suresh Selvarajan’s production designing shows an eye for detail. Akiv Ali’s editing is excellent.
On the whole, Brothers, a mixed martial arts film, may carry mixed reports but it will ultimately prove to be a paying proposal for all concerned. It will do good business in multiplexes and single-screen cinemas, and in ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ class centres. The national holiday tomorrow will see collections take a huge jump.