How and to whom do you complain as a determined, slick action player takes the form of mindless drama with intricate plots and unreal twists stitched together to create an experience that is a torture to sit through. Rashtra Kavach Om not only does a disservice to the genre it claims to belong to, but also to the audience that wants to see Aditya Roy Kapura doing something substantial on the big screen instead of just making a fist and letting us feel the impact in slo-mo. Director Kapil Verma wants us to believe in the fictional universe he created where everyone is fighting, but no one knows why and what for. (Read also: Rocketry: The Nambi Effect review | R Madhavan wins with underdog story, Shah Rukh Khan cameo is endearing

Om (Aditya Roy Kapur) is a super commando who is on an important mission to get the Rashtra Kavach (literally translated to the country’s security guard) back into safe hands and save the nation. He’s almost done completing his mission when he’s shot and revived, only to realize he’s lost his memory. Meanwhile, Kavya Sharma (Sanjana Sanghi) takes care of him while other officials of the elite government agency – Murthy (Prakash Raj) and Jai Rathod (Ashutosh Rana) are busy figuring out how to get Om back into the mission. But it is not as simple as it seems from the outside. To save his country, Om must discover much more, such as finding his father Dev Rathod (Jackie Shroff) and proving he was not a traitor.

The story written by Raj Saluja and Niket Pandey’s goes in all directions. Subplots are introduced every 15 minutes and most don’t feel important to the plot. Some scenes test your patience for the absurdity they touch. In one of the scenes, two officers are shot. As the man lies there lifeless, the woman quickly stands up, standing as if the bullet never hit her. And you pull your hair and think, “What was that?” Then there’s a hero who gets shot in the head, falls deep into the sea, yet manages to survive and regain his physical powers in no time. After all, what superpowers are these?

And if this wasn’t enough, take this intriguing sentence: a doctor, seeing Om’s condition, says: ‘Aapo kya chahiye, murda with memory, ya zinda with hope?’ Then in one of the scenes, Kapoor says, ‘Rakht rahe ya na rahe, rashtra hamesha rahega’ and ‘Ek ladai ko jeetne ke liye usse baar ladna padta hai’. Are we back in the 80’s?

Also in terms of performance, Rashtra Kavach isn’t really laced with anything out of the ordinary for you to notice and notice other than Kapur’s physical transformation for this macho avatar. Let’s give the credit where it’s due. He makes some action scenes look good – just the real ones minus the special effects. He actually doesn’t waver much in the acting department either. Having played a lover in his previous outings – Aashiqui 2 and Malang – Kapur can and should explore more in the action genre as it suits him. Sanghi takes some beating, but her character has nothing left to do in terms of emotions or on-screen presence. Could have done with a little more depth there. Ashutosh Rana plays his part with complete dedication and restraint and is not too over the top. Prakash Raj is doing again what he has been doing since Wanted (2009) days. He really needs an image makeover right now. There is also Prachee Shah Pandya as Om’s mother, who has some decent scenes.

Interestingly, the movie was previously called Om: The Battle Within and now, after seeing it, I think this title would have worked better, as each character was indeed fighting a battle within themselves. I couldn’t understand why the creators would call it Rashtra Kavach Om and use patriotism as one of its tropes. Only watch it for Aditya Roy Kapoor if you have to.

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