If you haven't seen the A. R. Murugadoss Hindi action thriller film HOLIDAY: A Soldier is Never Off Duty - released worldwide on 6 June 2014 - go see it now. The story involves an Indian army officer who uncovers a terrorist network of sleeper cells while on holiday in Mumbai.
Here are just five reasons to see the film:
1. A Unique Story
While the film is a scene-for-scene remake of the 2012 Tamil blockbuster film Thuppakki, the storyline by A.R. Murugadoss is made fresh with dedicated performances by an outstanding cast. This story takes a look at the impact of terrorism and sleeper cells - and provides a hero that isn't afraid to meet the enemy head-0n. This updated version also offers some additional information to flesh out the original storyline.
2. Outstanding Cast
Akshay Kumar plays army officer Captain Virat Singh with sincerity, dedication, and honor. Singh truly believes in his calling to protect his country against terrorism at all costs. This dedication inspires those around him. At the end of the film you feel that Singh doesn't go on a mission so much as live his life as a mission.
Sonakshi Sinha, as love interest Saiba, is appropriately feisty and helps us see Virat Singh in a different way than how we would perceive him through the main storyline alone. Saiba's encounters with Virat are often humorous or heartfelt and only serve to connect us more strongly with Virat's character - who might otherwise seem a bit scary.
Sumeet Raghavan as Mukund (Virat Bakshi's friend and a Police Sub-Inspector) and Govinda as Pratap (Virat Bakshi's Senior Commanding Officer) are excellent choices for these supporting characters who seem to transfer roles during Virat Singh's holiday. While friend Mukund provides technical support for Virat Singh as he tracks down the terrorists, Senior Officer Pratap gets majorly involved in Virat Singh's personal love life.
3. Great Music
No successful Bollywood film would be complete without a great soundtrack to accompany it. Pritam's music in HOLIDAY is fun, upbeat, and, when needed, draws a tear to your eye. The film performances of the songs are well choreographed and might just make you want to sing and dance along. While videos of the songs have been available on youtube.com for some time, the soundtrack was made available on iTunes the same day the film was released.
4. Believable Action
If you've watched Bollywood action thrillers before, you've seen some physics-defying, seriously unbelievable stunts. Thanks to action director Greg Powell - known for his work in Skyfall, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and several of the Harry Potter films - the action sequences are even more powerful because they are more realistic. In a film about the serious topic of terrorism, the way the action is portrayed can set the tone for the whole film. Besides lending authenticity to the story, HOLIDAY offers the kind of action you know that martial arts expert Akshay Kumar is capable of doing and, well, you get to see him do it.
5. A Reminder of the Price of Freedom
Captain Virat Singh's words are often inspiring - full of patriotism and pride of service to his country. He doesn't just do a job, he fully lives his service. He is willing to confront threats to his country head-on, even when knowing the cost may be his life. He is always vigilant - some of the most engaging moments are when he doesn't say anything - when he silently solves a cryptic message, when he observes events unfold around him, or when his glance convinces others that he is a man to take seriously. As the title says, this soldier is never off duty. And by the end of the film you are reminded that freedom has a price that soldiers around the world are willing to pay every day.
Watch the trailer of the film:
HOLIDAY: A Soldier is Never Off Duty is dedicated to the members of the Indian Army and their families. I saw the first showing of the film in the Washington, DC area and as I was driving home from the movie theater I was listening to C-SPAN radio. I was reminded that 6 June 2014 was the 70th anniversary of the World War II Normandy Invasion by Allied troops - where 150,000 souls fought and changed the course of the war in Europe.
C-SPAN was broadcasting U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) emotional speech in remembrance of the fallen at the D-Day landings in Europe. As I listened, I was struck by common themes shared between the HOLIDAY film and the words of remembrance offered by the Senator. Here is a portion of Senator Cornyn's speech:
"We often hear that freedom is not free, and, of course, we all agree with that, but it almost has become a cliche, and it should not be. When we think about our freedom, we ought to think about those men who stormed the beaches at Normandy, many of whom lost their lives. We must always remember those who fought in places such as Iwo Jima and ran into a buzz saw of enemy fire, many of whom never came back. We need to remember those important events on a day such as this, and we need to tell the story not only to remind ourselves, but we also need to tell the story to our children and grandchildren because they will, before long, have a responsibility for preserving this great experiment we have had in America for over 230 years - a self-governing democracy that has been purchased by the blood and the treasure of those who have gone on before. The free world as we know it owes its existence to the courage, grit, and sacrifice of those who fought in places like Normandy, and, of course, they will not be forgotten."
View the full video of Senator Cornyn's D-Day Remembrance Speech.