In A R Murugadoss’ action film “Akira”, Sonakshi Sinha plays the eponymous protagonist, a feisty college student who is being chased down by four corrupt police officers. In an industry flooded with macho heroes who save damsels in distress, Akira is an exception – a girl who fights for herself and punches the men where it hurts.
Murugadoss’ intent is commendable but his execution is flimsy, to say the least. Like a rash driver in the film who crashes his car into a pile of bricks, the film-maker seems unsure which way to steer, mashing together many half-baked sub-plots before the movie limps to its unconvincing climax.
We first meet Akira as a pre-teen, egged on by her father to always fight injustice. A few stray lessons of taekwondo seem to equip her to face a violent world, and soon she is punching and kicking grown men in the gut. When she comes to Mumbai as a teenager, she unknowingly gets caught up in a murder cover-up where four policemen led by ACP Govind Rane (Anurag Kashyap) are out to make sure no one knows about the crime they committed for money.
The rogue cops kill and torture people indiscriminately but cannot seem to get their hands on Akira. From 80s movies tropes like mental hospitals to characters that saunter in and out of the frame without any context, “Akira” is a great example of a movie with a timely topic that suffers from outdated treatment.
Of the cast, Sonakshi Sinha seems to enjoy her action scenes, but they are few and far between. Konkona Sen Sharma as an upright police officer investigating the case must have taken the role just for the paycheck, given how little meat it has. Anurag Kashyap, in an over-the-top role as a corrupt policeman, seems to be having the most fun. He laughs maniacally, snarls menacingly, and channels every 80s bad cop character we’ve seen. If it wasn’t for him, “Akira” would have been a complete loss as a film.