'Fighter' Review: Flight Beneath The Clouds

Film: Fighter
Rating: 2.5/5
Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone, Anil Kapoor, Vinay Varma, Karan Singh Grover, Akshay Oberoi, Sanjeev Jaiswal, Austosh Rana etc
Music: Vishal-Sekhar (songs), Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara (backgrund)
Editing: Aarif Sheikh
Camera: Satchith Paulose
Production: Viacom 18 Studios
Direction: Siddharth Anand
Release Date: 25th January 2024

The movie featuring a highly acclaimed cast is released today, coinciding with the nation's Republic Day celebrations. Given its Air Force backdrop and patriotic theme, expectations were naturally high regarding its content.

Let's delve into what the film has to offer.

Squadron Leader Shamsher Pathania, also known as Patty (Hrithik Roshan), is an exceptional fighter pilot in the Indian Army, and Squadron Leader Minni (Deepika Padukone) happens to be his colleague. Patty carries the weight of a tragic past, having lost his fiancée, Naina Jaisingh, who was also a former Air Force officer.

Group Captain Rakesh Singh, aka Rocky (Anil Kapoor), leads the Air Force team, which includes Patty and Minni, in response to the Pulwama Attack orchestrated by Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists. Azhar Akhtar (Rishab Sawhney), a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist, gains control over Pakistan's power center, manipulating even its Army General and opposing the decisions of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The story unfolds as the Air Force, under the leadership of Rocky, counters Azhar Akhtar's Jihadi mission. The patriotic and heroic fervor displayed by Patty forms a central theme in how the Air Force responds to the orchestrated threat.

Artsites' Performance:
Hrithik Roshan delivers an outstanding performance, though he appears a bit tired and shows signs of aging in close-ups. His agility in executing high-octane action stunts as a fighter pilot is both convincing and captivating.

Deepika Padukone grabs attention with her sharp looks and subtle acting. She shines in a scene where she reunites with her parents after a prolonged breakup.

Anil Kapoor does justice to his role, infusing enough drama into his character. Vinay Varma is a perfect fit for his role as Air Commodore, showcasing an impressive screen presence. Rishab Sawhney is compelling in his portrayal of a cruel terrorist, serving as the sole antagonist.

Technical Excellence: 
The cinematography and CGI in the film are of the highest quality. Vishal-Shekhar's songs are captivating, with the first song being particularly engaging with its toe-tapping beat. 

The background score by Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara meets the requirements, although there are no standout goosebumps moments. 

The editing is well-done, and there are no complaints in this regard.

Action episodes
Second Half
Couple of emotional scenes 

First half
Predictable narrative
Average conflict 
Weak Villain 

There is no film so far that can compete with the 1997 release 'Border' when it comes to the storyline in military backdrop. Even Steven Speilberg lifted the climax scene from it and used in his most popular 1998 film 'Saving Private Ryan' starring Tom Hanks. 

Similar to how "Border" was made against the backdrop of the 1971 Battle of Longewala, "Fighter" is written in the context of the Pulwama attack in 2019. But the narrative lacks depth in portraying patriotic fervor and a gripping storyline that captivates the audience throughout.

The first half focuses on character establishment and camaraderie, featuring routine scenes of partying, dining, and predictable jokes among the colleagues. Occasionally, the audience can discern the fate of characters through clichéd dialogues, diminishing the element of surprise.

The second half, though more engaging, doesn't boast the best-written screenplay. It leans heavily on hero buildup scenes, dominated by Hrithik in the role of Squadron Leader Patty. While this might appeal to commercial interests, it doesn't reflect well on the filmmaker's prowess.

The film attempts to depict the Pakistani government as a puppet in the hands of the army, with the army being influenced by terrorist groups. Though it is beleived to be true, this could have been portrayed more convincingly with added drama instead of merely showing a terrorist controlling the entire country, its army, and even the prime minister. 

The chosen conflict, involving the Indian Airforce team retrieving officers held by the Pakistani military, could have been more engaging.

Certain moments in the film work well, such as Deepika reuniting with her parents, the death of an officer in captivity followed by his funeral, and Hrithik's emotional reaction upon hearing the name 'NJ' for the second time. 

On the other hand, the contrived fighting scenes between the protagonist and the terrorist towards the climax are clichéd and fail to evoke an adrenaline rush.

'Fighter' is tailored for audiences who can embrace anything labeled as patriotism and a classified operation without demanding much in terms of conviction, logic and maturity in making. If handled more meticulously bestowing a better adrenaline rush, this fighter flight could have soared above the clouds of expectations. 

Bottom Line: Fine but not fantastic

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