Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty Movie Poster
Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty Movie Poster

Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three stars)

Star cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha, Freddy Daruwala, Sumeet Raghavan, Sahedev Girish

Director: A. R. Murugadoss

What’s Good: The absorbing pace, the intelligent thinking of the proceedings, Akshay Kumar and mostly the gratuitous action sequences.

What’s Bad: Sonakshi Sinha and the film’s romantic angle, a half baked plot that comes with no back story and doesn’t invest enough in painting an elaborate picture of its characters. And mostly the overstretched, over-exaggerated and over the top sequences that probably helps in raising the fun quotient of the film doesn’t really smell of wit.

Loo break: Not many.

Watch or Not?: The hardest bit about average films are that you are always in two minds whether to recommend them or to suggest you let it pass. However, for a change, I am suffering from no dubiousness this time. Don’t miss Holiday for the sheer fun of watching a film that wins solely for its delicious brutish action. The narrative isn’t exactly a work of genius with the logical apertures frequently getting the better of you. But Murugadoss doesn’t let go off the breakneck speed that Holiday benefits from. The film without the briskness would have failed to rise above the half decent mark. Don’t miss this one for the reckless headlong roller coster ride it holds for you.

User Rating: 

Holiday begins with Captain Virat Bakshy coming back to Mumbai. On his advent, his parents take him to meet Saiba (Sonakshi Sinha), as a part of an arranged marriage proposal. While initially it doesn’t work out between them, with Virat assuming Saiba to be a shy and reticent person, he eventually gets to see a brighter, enthusiastic and feistier side of her.

Meanwhile, Virat entangles himself in a case that involves a bomb blast. As the story advances, Virat tracks down the sleeper cells that have been plotting a bigger attack on Mumbai.

Holiday traces the story of how Virat destroys the active sleeper cells and pushes them on to the comatose mode for a good while.

Sonakshi Sinha and Akshay Kumar in a still from movie 'Holiday'
Sonakshi Sinha and Akshay Kumar in a still from movie ‘Holiday’

Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty Review: Script Analysis

An army soldier Virat Bakshy is back home on a Holiday. While for most Holiday would be synonymous to taking respite from work, the script writers go all the way in establishing that army people don’t have the luxury of respite that civilians thrive on. Akshay Kumar’s elaborate speeches on the greatness of the Indian army borders on tedious and are perhaps amongst the film’s most slack moments. And yet, there is probably no reason to slam a otherwise ‘a could have been rubbish’ film Murugadoss made for you. Though the afterthought gives perspective and makes you realize the utter dumbness of the film, while watching it the filmmaker establishes the ongoings with such sincerity that you don’t quite get to sit back and seep the rantings of your logical brain. It is that much fun!

The script is largely unconvincing. As Akshay disrupts the workings of sleeper cells, one can’t help wonder ‘how on earth is an army officer who is off-duty authorized to throw himself on cases that logically lies under the purview of the police’. Also, if there is a bomb blast in the city, an ordinary sub-inspector won’t be left in-charge of the case but will (I hope) be headed by a group of more senior officers. Not that we go watching masala entertainers expecting logic but still clever action doesn’t always guarantee a clever film.

In a particular scene, where Akshay kidnaps a terrorist, an active sleeper cell member who executes a pivotal operation and keeps him at his home makes me wonder how on earth does no one in his family find out about it. As already clear that logic isn’t what one of the things on the menu while you watch Holiday, lapses like these make you guffaw in an immensely thrilling film.

And now I take the liberty to slam the film’s biggest problem: the romantic story. It is hard to fathom the needless attempt to infuse a romantic track in a film which is better off without. Be it Special 26 or Holiday, the romantic track of this film barely has any space and is more distracting than appealing. While Murugadoss’ Ghajini had a brilliantly written female character in Kalpana who had the fragility and charm in a romance that blended well with the action, Sonakshi’s Saiba evokes delirium more than tenderness.

Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty Review: Star Performances

Akshay Kumar is still a proud over actor. And as much as I enjoy watching his films, it was hard to miss Kumar taking trips back to Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Dobaara which in my opinion was one of the worst roles of his career. But when it comes to the genuineness and the sincerity to which he accomplishes this role, Akshay gets full marks on it. It was after a long time that Akshay synced in a character this well, as if it was written for him. In the last scene where he kills the head of the sleeper cells, qualifies as adrenalin rush shot for any Akshay fan. Thumbs up to the cool man!

Sonakshi Sinha barely has a 15 minute role in the film. And as hard as I try to like her each time, I find it very difficult to achieve with the actress practically doing nothing in her films. Its high time she really needs to raise the bar of the roles she accepts.

Also, it must be mentioned that the audiences got a glimpse of Akshay’s It’s Entertainment and if that dog is anything like Holiday’s ‘Rocky’ then we have a brilliant chemistry to await.

Sumeet Raghvan, who is best known for his role Sahil Sarabhai in the popular show Sarabhai VS Sarabhai, is reduced to a caricature that doesn’t define his diverse acting abilities. He was ordinary and played plain silly all along.

The lead terrorist in the film, Freddy Daruwala does his job well emitting the right emotion of spine chilling. The guy surely has promise and with a more prominent role, he can deliver better.

Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay

For film critics, the first thing to check out in the censor board certificate is a film’s runtime. Going by that Holiday wasn’t even close to being a pleasant sight. At 2 hours 52 minutes, the film was relatively long. Give A.R Murugadoss the credit that it is so absorbing in both its witty and silly moments that you don’t quite feel the pangs of its length. It is a sleek film which is done in an old fashioned good vs evil way but Akshay fighting his nemesis is every bit satisfying.

I can’t help taking pot shots at the laughable climactic juncture where a supporting actor screeches, “Ek kaam kartey hai dono ko maar daltey hai” (about Akshay and Freddy). Sounding straight out of daily soaps, it didn’t quite fit in the trim narrative. At another juncture where 12 army officers are tracking down 12 sleeper cells in a very razor sharp sequence, at a nail biting minute they all echo ‘Arey yeh toh gun hai’ thrice over (on discovering a gun in their bags). Dialogues like this don’t show well on the sagacious thinking of the film.

The screenplay besides these lapses is engrossing. Pritam’s music adds to the delight factor with tracks like Tu Hi Toh and Shaayraana and though the editing is on the lazier side, it isn’t half as bad.

Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty Review: The Last Word

Holiday is mostly a delectable film. With Akshay’s superfluous action sequences beguiling you to watch a film which isn’t even close to as brainy as it seems, I will still recommend you to watch it for the lump sum enjoyment it delivers. It isn’t a great film but surprisingly winsome and not entirely forgettable. Quite the value for the buck! I am going with a judicious 3/5.

Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty Trailer

Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty releases on 6th June, 2014.

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