Banners: Anil Sharma Productions, Soham RockStar Entertainment
Producers: Anil Sharma, Deepak Mukut
Director: Anil Sharma
Cast: Utkarsh Sharma, Ishita Chauhan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mithun Chakraborty, Ayesha Jhulka
Writers: Anil Sharma, Sunil Sirvaiya, Amjad Ali
Music: Himesh Reshammiya
Anil Sharma’s films usually have a patriotic bent, and challenge those who want to destroy its peace or integrity. In other words, desh prem is the key sentiment. The hero is no less than a superman and he goes to any lengths to protect his country. Actors like Dharmendra and Sunny Deol have essayed this role to perfection, bringing to life Sharma’s larger-than-life characters and films with finesse. But, with time, films made on this subject have changed.
Today’s audience wants a film that looks modern, is realistic and also high on entertainment. Yet Sharma seems to have forgotten that he is making a film in 2018. This is the biggest drawback of Genius. First, here’s a look at the story of the film.
Vasudev Shastri is a young genius from IIT Roorkee. His brilliance lands him small gigs with Indian intelligence agencies. While studying there, he falls in love with Nandini but she shares a different dream and leaves for the US. Left behind, Vasudev spends his time on the ghats of Mathura Vrindavan after which he is offered a chance to work with RAW. During the course of his job, he uncovers an ISIS link in India and sets off on a mission to find and destroy someone known as ‘MRS’.
To do this, he forms a team called TICOS. But during a mission in Porbandar, he loses his team and is forced to leave the force. The love of his life Nandini stands by his side. She takes him to her home in Lakshadweep, hoping that he will forget his past and that they can move on. But that is not to be. Vasu discovers that his team is not actually dead. They are taking orders directly from the country’s Prime Minister and are to complete the mission they left incomplete in Porbandar. Thus starts a mind game between Vasudev and MRS. How Vasudev manages to outwit MRS and save the country is what Genius is all about.
What fails Genius is the writing. The hero has been burdened with so many skills and the film with so many twists and turns that the result is a weak screenplay. Vasudev is a genius, so he can solve the Rubik’s cube in a jiffy, fight several goons in one go, hack into the most secure computer servers, use jammers to do anything, from controlling traffic lights to intercepting phone calls, and has the deductive powers of Sherlock Holmes! There are too many elements that are far-fetched.
The students of IIT Roorkee are always dressed as if they are in party mood. They do not look or behave like engineering students. The officers of RAW behave like amateurs. During a crisis, for instance, when their systems are hacked, they are clueless about what to do. They always need Vasudev to save the day! For an organisation that is supposed to be highly secretive about its missions and agents, information seems to be easily and readily available.
The first half of the film is heavy on romance and drama, while the second half of the film is action-driven. Though this seems to be the right mix, the execution fails big time. But the other aspects of the film do stand out. The scenes are beautifully captured, the songs picturised well and there are several scenic moments. The songs have a good mix of folk, melody and fast beats. But, then, there are too many songs and most of them are in the first half of the film, which makes it tedious.
Performance-wise, Utkarsh Sharma shows promise. He can emote decently and given the right role he should be able to deliver. He looks too young to carry off the character of Vasudev Shastri, and he is not convincing in the fight scenes. Ishita Chauhan as Nandini looks beautiful but her expressions are dull. Mithun Chakraborty as the National Security Advisor is bearable in parts. Ayesha Jhulka as Nandini’s mother is wasted. Nawazuddin Siddiqui as MRS is the only hope for this film but he doesn’t seem to be interested in his role. He does have some good lines but as a villain he fails to bring any sense of fear or suspense to his character.