Visually Stunning, Emotionally Hollow: Fighter Movie Review

fighter movie review

Upon viewing the Fighter film trailer, the excessive hyper-nationalism, particularly the references to India Occupied Pakistan (IOP), raised concerns about whether this Siddharth Anand film would resemble a more refined version of Gadar. While the movie undeniably caters to patriotic sentiments to appeal to the majority, it pleasantly surprised me that this theme is confined to specific sections. Clocking in at over 160 minutes, the film adeptly packages the military lives of its characters. In terms of production value and writing quality, I consider Fighter Siddharth Anand’s best work since his shift post-Bang Bang as an action movie director.

The protagonist, Shamsher Pathania (Patty), is a member of a special force in the Indian Air Force. The team’s commanding officer, Rakesh Jai Singh (Rocky), along with other members like Minal Rathore, Sartaj Singh, and Basheer Khan, forms a quick response team. Fighter narrates a fictional series of events leading to the infamous Pulwama attack of 2019 and explores how these events alter Patty’s life.

The prevalent hyper-nationalistic trend in recent times, especially with elections approaching, is reflected in numerous films with a “new India” motif, including the upcoming Eid release, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. Fighter, when delving into the India-Pakistan dynamic, tends to present a one-dimensional portrayal, depicting Pakistanis as unintelligent individuals praising India indirectly. However, such scenes are relatively few compared to the impression created by the trailer.

After swiftly establishing characters, the movie delves into their interpersonal relationships and conflicts related to disobedience and ego. In these areas leading to the conflict and the patches before the final showdown, the screenplay successfully creates a compelling narrative with clear set pieces. Despite the loud drama and its deviation from real army scenarios, the over-the-top elements work reasonably well. Fighter appears less green screen-oriented compared to Siddharth Anand’s previous action films, adding to its visual appeal.

Although inspired by Top Gun, the film strikes a balance between over-the-top heroics and standard military procedure, thanks to the writing by Ramon Chibb and Siddharth Anand. Fighter caters to its audience, providing ample moments to admire Hrithik Roshan’s swagger and abs. The “please” sequence, initially seeming like fan service, cleverly recurs at different stages in the movie. Hrithik Roshan delivers a commendable performance, portraying the vulnerable side of Patty. Deepika Padukone’s character, Minal (Minni), functions as a team member, and the romantic dynamic between Minni and Patty takes a backseat. Anil Kapoor excels in his role as the typical commanding officer, portraying constant anger and dissatisfaction.

While some dialogues around Minal’s character felt preachy, the film introduces Rishabh Sawhney as the antagonist, who, despite limited material, brings intensity to the role. Fighter mirrors Uri in its cinematic depiction of India-Pakistan tension, incorporating real-life events like the Pulwama attack and Balakot airstrikes. The chest-thumping patriotism in the final act may resemble Gadar, but the film’s high production quality in terms of CGI and cinematography enhances the overall theatrical experience.