Today, 6 June 2014, the film Holiday: A Soldier is Never Off Duty opened across the world and we went to see the first show in the Washington, DC area. Dedicated to members of the Indian Army and their families, this film is an respectful addition to the action thriller genre.
The film tells the story of an Indian Army soldier Captain Virat Bakshi (Akshay Kumar) who goes home on break. His family introduces him to Saiba (Sonakshi Sinha) with the idea that the two will marry. As the two eventually warm up to each other, a terrorist attack in Mumbai draws Captain Bakshi into an investigation which treatens his life and the lives of the people around him.
If you are interested in an engaging and memorable movie-going experience - watch Holiday. Then when you return from the movie theater, here are 5 more Bollywood action thrillers to watch.
Release Date: 25 December 2008
Director: A. R. Murugadoss
Music by: A. R. Rahman
Description: Action psychological thriller. Medical student, Sunita (Jiah Khan), is driven by curiosity to study the case of Sanjay Singhania (Aamir Khan), who is afflicted with anterograde amnesia. She runs befriends him and finds out that he is out to kill a seemingly benevolent citizen, Ghajini Dharmatma (Pradeep Rawat). She comes across a number of diaries written by Sanjay and attempts to put together a jigsaw puzzle about this man who re-lives his past through tattoos on his body, notes, and Polaroid photographs on the wall.
Why I Love This Film: Another Hindi remake by A. R. Murugadoss, this time of his 2005 Tamil film Ghajini which was a inspired by the film Memento. What makes this film stand out is the story of Sanjay's transformation from a successful and wealthy businessman, to a man in love, to a crazed recluse. He is a force to be reckoned with in whatever reality he exists.
Recognition: Won, Stardust Hottest New Film Award; Won, Stardust Hottest New Filmmaker (A.R. Murugadoss); Won, Filmfare Best Action Award (Peter Hein).
Release Date: 18 September 2009
Director: Prabhu Deva
Music by: Sajid-Wajid
Description: Crime action thriller. Mumbai-based middle-classed Jhanvi (Ayesha Takia), who lives with her widowed mother and younger brother, has three suitors. The first is much older and considerably overweight - Sonu Gates (Manoj Pahwa). The second is the creepy corrupt Police Inspector Talpade (Mahesh Manjrekar) who lusts after Jhanvi so much so that he creates circumstances that will force her to marry him. The third is Radhe (Salman Khan), who often comes to her rescue, but breaks her heart when she finds out who he is really is - a cold-blooded killer who works for a gangster named Gani Bhai (Prakash Raj). As Mumbai reels under bloody gang wars, Police Commissioner Ashraf Taufeeq Khan (Govind Namdeo) takes drastic action to make the city crime-free.
Why I Love This Film: You've got to respect the straightforward approach that Radhe takes to life, work, and love. Juxtaposing Radhe - who is focused and dangerous but also a man of his word - against the low-life Inspector Talpade is a reminder that the character, not the uniform, defines the man. As a Prabhu Deva film starring Salman Khan, the story includes a lot of action and violence but keeps you engaged through to the conclusion.
Recognition: Won, Filmfare Award for Best Action; Won, Stardust Award for Best Film of the Year (Action/Thriller); Winner, Star Screen Award for Best Action.
English Translation: "Indignation"
Release Date: 15 October 2010
Description: Action thriller. Three university students go missing while visiting the village of Jhaanjhar. Central Bureau of Investigation CBI officers Sidhant Chaturvedi (Akshaye Khanna) and Pratap Kumar (Ajay Devgn) are sent to investigate the disappearances but the villagers are uncooperative and the local authorities are willing to do anything to keep the truth hidden.
Why I Love This Film: This film features powerful performances and a compelling storyline. Sometimes men wearing the uniform abuse their power and someone has to set them straight. The village of Jhaanjhar is rife with class warfare and those in power maintain dominance through fear, destruction, and reprisal. The two lead CBI officers - each an outsider to the community in their own way - come together to fight against the obstacles and threats that are put before them in the search for truth and justice for both the missing men and the community writ large.
Film Postscript: "In independent India, even today, many lovers like Dinu are killed in the name of honor killing. Every day, in the name of religion and caste, people are divided as untouchables and outcasts. Even after so many years of independence has India really got freedom?"
4. Ek Tha Tiger
English Translation: "Once There Was a Tiger"
Release Date: 15 August 2012
Director: Kabir Khan
Description: Action spy thriller. Avinash Singh Rathode a.k.a. "Tiger" (Salman Khan) - India's top spy and an officer of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) - is sent to Ireland to monitor the activities of a Trinity College NRI professor who is believed to be sharing secrets with Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). In Dublin, he befriends (and falls in love with) the professor's housekeeper, Zoya (Katrina Kaif). When he uncover's the professor's secret, events are set in motion that make both Tiger and Zoya a threat to both RAW and ISI.
Why I Love This Film: This film has all the elements that make a great Bollywood film - great story, great action, great music, and amazing sites. Khan and Kaif make an excellent team in this action epic that takes you on an adventure to a variety of venues around the world. When you reach the end of the film you want to watch it all over again just for the action joyride.
Recognition: Won, People's Choice Awards India Favorite Movie. Won, BIG Star Most Entertaining Film of the Year.
5. Race 2
Release Date: 26 January 2013
Description: Action thriller. Ranveer Singh (Saif Ali Khan), on a mission to avenge the death of his lover Sonia, crosses paths with Armaan Mallick (John Abraham) and Aleena (Deepika Padukone) -- two of the most feared figures in the Turkish underworld. Ranveer's loyal friend RD (Anil Kapoor) and partner Cherry (Ameesha Patel), travel along with Singh and help him with his plans.
Why I Love This Film: Everyone is a mark and no one can be trusted - and that is one of the joys of watching this film. Friendships are made, discarded, and reconstructed. As you learn more about the underlying motives if each of the characters, you discover a complex story weaving together a variety of players who aren't who they seem to be. Add to that a story with exotic locations, car chases, bomb blasts, fights, heists, and a coolness factor to boot, this film takes you on a very entertaining ride.
Don't know which film to watch first? The following playlist features trailers for each of these films, beginning with Holiday: A Soldier is Never Off Duty.
If you liked this, check out our other Friday Five posts.