Fighter, the highly anticipated action thriller starring Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone, and Anil Kapoor, hit theaters on January 25th, 2024. Directed by Siddharth Anand, Fighter is already being hailed as one of the most gripping and entertaining films to come out of Bollywood in recent years.
The Storyline: A Gripping Tale of Bravery and Sacrifice
Fighter revolves around an elite team of Air Force pilots led by Squadron Leader Shamsher “Patty” Pathania (Hrithik Roshan) and Squadron Leader Minal “Minni” Rathore (Deepika Padukone). Based out of a forward airbase in Kashmir, this crack team is tasked with protecting the borders and responding to threats.
When a deadly terrorist attack shakes the nation, Patty and his team are called into action. What follows is a thrilling cat-and-mouse game with enemies across the border as Patty and Minni risk everything to avenge their fallen comrades and protect their homeland.
Director Siddharth Anand does a masterful job of balancing high-octane action sequences with emotional, character-driven moments. The story grabs you right from the exhilarating opening sequence and maintains a tight grip right up to the poignant climax. The pulsating background score by Vishal-Shekhar accentuates each twist and turn.
Overall, Fighter succeeds in portraying a riveting tale of bravery, sacrifice and redemption against the backdrop of aerial combat. Anand ensures that the human element remains at the forefront despite the high-tech setting.
Hrithik Roshan – Tour De Force Performance
Hrithik Roshan is simply outstanding as Patty, the determined squadron leader who will stop at nothing to protect his nation. This is one of Hrithik’s most nuanced performances, combining grit, intensity, and vulnerability. He brings a depth and gravitas to Patty’s character that makes him human despite his heroics.
The raw emotions that Hrithik displays as a hardened soldier battling inner demons after tragedy strikes his team are heart-wrenching. His dynamic on-screen chemistry with Deepika Padukone adds further layers. Hrithik’s physicality and commitment to portraying an air force pilot authentically, including undergoing intensive training, shows why he is one of the most dedicated actors today. He dominates the screen with a tour de force performance.
Deepika Padukone – Understated and Powerful
As the strong-willed Minni, Deepika Padukone delivers an understated yet powerful performance. She matches Hrithik step for step in portraying the fortitude and courage displayed by our soldiers. Deepika portrays the grit and determination underneath Minni’s stoic exterior convincingly.
The rapport and repartee between Hrithik and Deepika keep the proceedings grounded. Deepika’s nuanced performance provides the perfect foil to Hrithik’s intensity. Their bond of trust and camaraderie, tested against the crucible of war, is an emotional anchor.
Overall, Deepika Padukone proves yet again what a versatile and compelling performer she is with her stellar act in Fighter.
Supporting Cast – Pitch-Perfect
Fighter boasts an ensemble cast that delivers pitch-perfect performances.
Anil Kapoor brings his trademark flair and humor to the role of the grizzled yet genial Group Captain Rakesh “Rocky” Singh leading the airbase. His mentorship of the squadron leaders adds warmth.
Karan Singh Grover makes his presence felt as the brash Squadron Leader Sartaj “Taj” Gill. His camaraderie with Hrithik and Deepika is a highlight.
Akshay Oberoi also impresses in a small but pivotal role as Basheer, Patty’s loyal deputy. His rapport with Hrithik simmers with an understated intensity.
The supporting cast comprising Sanjeeda Sheikh, Ashutosh Rana, and others provide apt foils. Each actor is well-cast and contributes strongly to the film.
Siddharth Anand – Visionary Director
With Fighter, Siddharth Anand proves he is one of the most versatile directors in Bollywood today. He had already displayed his range with films like Bang Bang, War, and Pathaan but Fighter takes it to another level.
Anand’s assured direction and slick pacing ensure Fighter never loses momentum despite the 2 hour 45 minute runtime. He dexterously handles the high-stakes aerial combat sequences. The combat visuals are on par with Hollywood standards.
Equally adept at crafting emotional moments, Anand ensures the human relationships ground the film. Drawing fine performances from his cast, Anand fulfills his vision of creating an entertainer with both spectacle and soul.
Technical Excellence: Cinematography, Production Design & VFX
On the technical front, Fighter achieves excellence.
Cinematographer Satchith Paulose creates visual magic with breath-taking aerial combat sequences as well as poignant emotional moments between the characters. The sweeping landscape visuals of Kashmir are captured in all their glory.
Production designer Rajat Podar successfully recreates an authentic air force base. The military hardware looks authentic. Set pieces like the fighter jet cockpits and control rooms have meticulous detail.
The VFX, overseen by NY VFXwaala and Super8 UK, is world-class. The combat scenes between the fighter jets and choppers have seamless VFX that heightens the immersive viewing experience. Scenes like the terrifying airbase attack highlight how advances in VFX can create jaw-dropping photorealistic sequences.
The Thrilling Action Sequences: Pulsating and Impressive
The action and aerial combat sequences are undoubtedly the biggest highlights of Fighter. Building up from smaller dogfights to an explosive climax, the action has a progressive flow.
The film’s big set pieces do not disappoint. The opening dogfight over the Line of Control hooks viewers in. Siddharth Anand uses clever camerawork, editing and sound design to capture the chaos and danger of the life and death mid-air skirmishes. These scenes have a you-are-there feel accentuated by the cockpit POV shots.
The subsequent airbase attack sequence raises the stakes even higher. Raw and visceral, the sustained attack showcases destruction on an epic scale rarely seen before in Bollywood. The hand to hand combat between Hrithik and the terrorists is bone-crunching stuff.
The final 40-minute long aerial battle at the climax is worth the price of admission alone. It has to be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated. With multiple fighter jets and choppers engaged in a fierce mid-air duel with the majestic Himalayas in the background, this combat resonates with a stirring patriotic fervor. The VFX work makes the explosions and missile attacks look devastatingly realistic. The climax leaves viewers exhilarated.
The music of Fighter is a standout. The album features soulful original songs by Vishal-Shekhar along with rousing background score by Sanchit Balhara.
The pick of the lot is “Sapne Mein Milti Hai” featuring Arijit Singh’s dulcet vocals. This melodious track encapsulates the longing and anguish of the squadron leaders separated by war and duty. It will tug at your heartstrings.
“Victory Loop” has a patriotic fervor with marching beats and chorus vocals to amp up the climactic aerial battle scenes. “Fauji Band Anthem” celebrates the camaraderie of the soldiers with its inspiring lyrics penned by Irshad Kamil. The poignant “Homeland Calling” track about missing one’s roots also resonates deeply.
Overall, the music and background score strike just the right emotional notes to complement the film’s technical brilliance.
Final Verdict – A Must-Watch Entertainer
Fighter is proof of the leaps mainstream Hindi cinema has taken in matching up to Hollywood’s technical finesse while retaining our unique storytelling format combining drama, emotions, songs and spectacle. It’s a genre-defining film that pays homage to the valor of our soldiers while delivering a Hollywood-caliber cinematic experience.
Boasting jaw-dropping action, soulful music, splendid visuals and compelling performances, Fighter soars to great heights as a glorious entertainer. The aerial combat scenes are simply unprecedented in Indian cinema.
Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone’s electrifying chemistry, the supporting cast’s stellar efforts, Siddharth Anand’s visionary direction, and the technical brilliance make Fighter one of the best films to come out of Bollywood. It establishes a new benchmark with its international production values coupled with a story straight from the Indian heartland.
Fighter is a film tailor-made for the big screen and is a must-watch for every Indian. It fills you with a renewed patriotic fervor and respect for our soldiers. This is popcorn entertainment at its best which will keep you engaged and thrilled. Even the most jaded