“Fighter” is a Bollywood aerial action-drama that explores the courage and sacrifice of Indian Air Force pilots, particularly in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack. Starring Hrithik Roshan as Patty and Deepika Padukone as Minni, the film delivers a gripping narrative, spectacular visuals, and intense aerial combat sequences.
In Hindi cinema, there’s a genre that often gets confused with masala films—the star vehicle. It’s not just about excess or logic-defying scenes; it’s about the lead star being the main attraction. “Fighter,” directed by Siddharth Anand and starring Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone, proudly falls into this category, promising a cinematic spectacle simply with the presence of its stars.
“Fighter” takes off in 2018, just before the Pulwama attack. To respond to this tragic event, commanding officer Rocky (Anil Kapoor) forms the Air Dragons unit, bringing together the best aerial officers. The team, led by Deepika Padukone, Hrithik Roshan, Karan Singh Grover, Akshay Oberoi, and others, sets the stage for an action-packed story.
While “Fighter” follows a familiar plot of India seeking retribution against Pakistan, it shines through its entertainment and engagement. The film, co-written by Siddharth Anand and Ramon Chib, leans into patriotism, accompanied by dialogues from Hussain Dalal, Abbas Dalal, and Biswapati Sarkar. This trio deserves applause for stirring emotions without falling into jingoism or over dramatization. The dialogues, especially those during aerial combat, are seeti maar, particularly Patty’s exchanges with Red Nose and Akhtar about PoK and IoP.
As the narrative unfolds, “Fighter” manages to transcend clichés, delivering an action entertainer that crackles with energy. The film excels in its execution, blending star power with riveting visuals, emotional depth, and a cast that complements each other seamlessly. Hrithik Roshan’s Patty and Deepika Padukone’s Minni lead the charge, their chemistry adding a layer of authenticity to the film.
Hrithik Roshan leads the charge, giving his all to elevate “Fighter” to greater heights. Deepika Padukone, comfortable in a predominantly male-centric narrative, delivers a solid performance. Anil Kapoor’s measured approach adds a layer of gravitas to the film. However, the absence of a more formidable villain is felt, leaving a gap in the overall dynamics.
Karan Singh Grover and Akshay Oberoi, despite not being at the film’s center, make the most of their roles, contributing significantly to the narrative. Ashutosh Rana and Geeta Agrawal, with just two scenes in “Fighter,” leave an indelible mark, making a powerful impression in their brief appearances.
“Fighter” boasts impeccable VFX, a crucial element for an aerial action film. The well-executed aerial combat scenes are visually stunning, keeping the audience hooked and surprised. The film stands as a testament to the prowess of Indian filmmakers in delivering high-quality visual experiences. “Fighter” becomes a paisa vasool film, making you proud of the cinematic offerings emerging from the Indian film industry.
However, there are several things where the film fails. “Fighter” weaves together familiar human pieces—an air warrior facing personal challenges, a senior Air Force pro managing a younger, impulsive counterpart, and a female fighter pilot challenging gender discrimination. However, the film introduces a predictable antagonist, a terror kingpin targeting India’s defense establishment.
The movie echoes a recurring theme in Hindi cinema, portraying Pakistan as India’s constant adversary, similar to countless previous films. While aiming for easy applause with patriotic dialogues like ‘baap kaun hai’ and ‘har galli will become Indian Occupied Pakistan,’ “Fighter” falls into the trap of overemphasizing nationalism, resulting in a weakened impact.
“Fighter” not only embraces the star vehicle subgenre but propels it to new heights. With stellar performances and technical brilliance, the film stands as a testament to the prowess of Indian cinema. Despite the shortcomings, the overall experience is positive. As Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone soar through the skies, “Fighter” leaves an indelible mark, proving to be a paisa vasool cinematic extravaganza.