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A return to old school Bollywood

A return to old school Bollywood



A few years ago, Anurag Kashyap appeared on Coffee with Karan, expressing his desire to revoke Rajkumar Hirani's film license. Much to the shock of Karan Johar and Anushka Sharma, who were the first-hand audience of this revelation, Kashyap admitted that the reason was the unique lens with which Hirani operates, providing insight into pertinent issues through beautifully crafted narratives.

Anyone who has followed Hirani's work knows this to be true. The way he fuses humor with real, relevant issues, giving birth to gems like Munna Bhai MBBS, 3 idiotsAnd PK, is a distinct talent that cannot be replicated. In SoakHirani balances his skills on the capable shoulders of a cinema giant like Shah Rukh Khan, creating yet another magical experience.


Soak gives a feeling of warmth, softness and comfort. In many ways, the offering carries with it the weight of nostalgia. Movies like Soak are rare in today's agenda-driven mainstream Bollywood. The purity of the story shines brightly, transporting Bollywood fans to a time when Pakistan wasn't always the bad guy and India wasn't always in a territorial war.

There is an undeniable familiarity to the film. This is partly due to Hirani's classic plot progression. Hardayal “Hardy” Sukhdev Singh Dhillon, a former soldier of the Indian Army's Sikh Regiment, makes his entrance on a train, a welcome play on Khan's long-standing iconic love affair with the mode of transportation. Given that he is Hirani's characteristic outsider, it is up to him to facilitate the resolution of the central conflict, where a group of Indians wish to travel to England to alleviate various problems in their lives.

True to its formula, a heartbreaking and extremely gruesome death propels the plot's denouement further. A dramatic action peak, an emotionally charged monologue and an inevitable reunion mark the rest of Hirani's cinematic formula, but what's so wonderful about the same is that it achieves the goal of making the offer completely immersive and engaging. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and Hirani knows that's true, given his wildly successful work.

The return of the loverboy

Another part of why Soak is a trip down memory lane, it's the fact that after seeing Khan in action-fueled stories like Pathan And Jawan, his third offering of 2023 is a much-needed return to his romantic avatar. Only after watching Soak we realize how much this aspect of the star's personality was really missing in his other films.

Hardy is a pure-hearted, selfless and passionate man. He feels immense ferocity but is never overbearing. Love oozes from every inch of his being, but he never makes it Manu Randhawa's (Taapse Pannu) problem. In fact, his dedication to fulfilling his promise to help Manu reach England takes precedence over his desire to profess his love. He is a man charged with multiple missions and he is respectful to everyone, regardless of the passage of time.

Through Khan's portrayal, Hirani creates a green flag that serves as a vital rebuttal to the titular animals who have continued to make millions. Hardy is proof that love doesn't have to be mean, aggressive, misogynistic, cruel, or selfish. With highly problematic protagonists who steal the show with unparalleled stubbornness, Hirani and Khan's Hardy is a character worthy of applause and praise.


When we talk about characters, we must highlight the casting of the film. Pannu matches Khan's energy and is impactful and hilarious as Manu. The chemistry between the two is surprisingly engaging, and their banter is truly a gripping aspect of the film.

Vicky Kaushal as Sukhi Singh is the kind of character where one feels the need to connect with the filmmaker and question his decision-making process. This is in no way a negative comment. In fact, Kaushal's storyline is so devastating that one feels the need to ask Hirani why he would want to break his audience's hearts in this way, while understanding that it is a relevant way to move the plot forward.

A staple of many of Hirani's films, Boman Irani as Geetendar “Geetu” Gulati, is as brilliant as one would expect. Vikram Kochhar as Balindar “Buggu” Lakhanpal and Anil Grover as Balli Kakkad are hilarious and heartwarming in turns. The entire cast works in tandem seamlessly, playing off each other's energies to create a thoroughly fun dynamic.

The dispute

One of the most brilliant things about Soak is the picture of despair – a feeling all too common among those struggling in developing countries, hoping to travel abroad to greener pastures. The film is firmly anti-colonial in its stance, lambasting the colonial hangover that parrots the need to inculcate English in all spheres of life, and also presents the often fatal routes taken by helpless people who encountered a wall in the visa process. . It is from this passage – the “stealing of the donkey”, a technique of illegal immigration – that the film borrows its title, and it does a spectacular job of highlighting how far one must go to hope for a better elsewhere that is never promised. , to start.

In all, Soak is a fantastic watch that serves as a gateway to a better, purer, more idealistic Bollywood. It’s a reminder of how much Indian cinema has left behind in the race to craft socially, religiously and politically charged narratives. However, it also instills a semblance of hope, making us dream of a world where we collectively return to such stunning works of art.

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