'Action Replayy' is one film which is arriving as an underdog this Diwali. The film doesn't scream and excites audience by proclaiming - 'Hey, look I am cool' or 'See, Akshay Kumar would be seen as a Mr. Smart Know All' once again' or 'The gags are such that you would fall off your seats'. Instead it does it all in a subtle manner when it comes to treatment though the look of the film does gain audience attention, courtesy the 70s setting that had a psychedelic flavour to it.
No wonder, when the curtains go up, the film begins and a few minutes later, Akshay is introduced as a nerd from the 70s, everyone collectively goes 'eeks' along with his son (Aditya Roy Kapoor) who has made a visit to the past. Forget the flamboyance or the energy that one expects from Akshay Kumar, he actually gets into a garb as never worn before. Donning an ill fitting 'kurta-pyajama', a pair of TV screen style glasses, a 'champu' haircut, an awkward walk and last but the most visible aspect of his personality - two protruding teeth, Akshay is as unlike a hero as one can expect from him or any other supporting actor filling a frame.
Vipul Shah gets the retro flavour bang on right from the time opening credits start rolling. The anthem music, background score, colours, costumes, sets, props - everything blends in truly well to actually traverse audience to the era gone by.
This is not all as the characters too turn into the kind that one expects from the 70s. Aishwarya Rai as a talkative mini skirted young tomboyish girl could well have taken a cue from Neetu Singh, Rannvijay Singh as a harmless villain is a diluted version of Ranjeet & Prem Chopra while Rajpal Yadav is a mini version of the boisterous Rajendra Nath. However, Akshay does something that has never been done by an actor either from the 70s or the current times and this is where the win of the character lies.
So while Aditya tries to develop love between next door neighbours Akshay and Aishwarya, everything that is possibly goes wrong between the duo. A street-smart Ash makes life miserable for Akshay and though he has a soft corner for her, he manages to let go off his feelings when he sees her get out of a mini skirt and don a saree. His heart goes 'dhak dhak' and he is all set to propose to her, but not before he goes through some real transformation. It is time for some 'awaaz neeche' and the game of one-upmanship as he is the one to take the upper seat now with Ash eventually falling in love with her.
A storyline as simple as that has to be sustained by peppering the screen with some interesting ingredients. This is something that is made possible through some fantastic tunes that have been put in place by Pritam. 'Zor Ka Jhatka', 'Chann Ke Mohalla' and 'Ae Bekhabar' arrive one after another and are a treat for the audience. There is a medley of four songs (set in a dance competition) in the second half of the film which is immediately followed by a love song (Tera Mera Pyaar); something that will have mixed reactions from audience as there are too many songs that come in one go.
This is immediately followed by a chase sequence, hence leading to a climax which seems to be set in a Priyadarshan/Anees Bazmee mode. For those who had liked the subtle yet engaging narrative of the film so far, this part of the film has a different flavour to it, something that may entice different reactions from different segments (mass v/s class) of the audience.
Coming back to the film in totality, to its credit there is no dull moment. While some of the fun sequences (Akshay proposing to Ash for the first time in a garden, the series of 'awaaz neeche' episodes, the one where Ash brings a cake for Akshay) do bring on the laughs, there are a few lump in the throat moments as well (Akshay touching Aditya's feet, his sob story on the reason behind his personality). What makes 'Action Replayy' further endearing is the chemistry between Akshay and Ash, something which is unconventional and yet makes one wonder that why the two had never been paired together.
Amongst other actors, Aditya turns out to be a surprise package as he does justice to his lengthy role in the film. He has a pleasant screen presence, is confident and quite natural. Om Puri and Kirron Kher are as usual, Rajpal Yadav is controlled, Rannvijay Singh decent while Randhir Kapoor and Sudeepa Singh are hardly there. Neha Dhupia has a miniscule screen time in a friendly appearance though she makes her presence felt in 'Zor Ka Jhatka'.
Overall, 'Action Replayy' turns out to be a clean musical entertainer that has a young feel to it without turning loud and brings with it an appeal that would cater to audience across all age groups. If in look out for some clean entertainment this Diwali, step into 'Action Replayy'; you would enjoy some harmless fun that would follow in those two hours.