'A Gentleman' is an action comedy with an original story that uses the best of western influences on Bollywood without feeling a poor imitation. Other attempts at the genre should take their cues from this movie, directed by Raj & D.K.
'A Gentleman' is a well crafted action-comedy that feels smarter than the conventional Bollywood movie.
Gaurav (Sidharth Malhotra) is your typical do-gooder, planning for his future family life with a new house in the suburbs and a brand spanking mini van. Much to the chagrin of his coworker / friend Kavya (Jacqueline Fernandes). Kavya prefers her men a bit more rugged and less domesticated. Enter Rishi, (also Malhotra) an ass kicking secret agent Spy man who is Gaurav's duplicate.
As part of a work thing, the buttoned down Gaurav has to deliver a package to India from Miami, while Rishi's last assignment also leads him to India. The two men have insanely different lives that end up becoming inevitably linked, as they become embroiled in a an adventure of a lifetime.
'A Gentleman' is the kind of action comedy that Bollywood has been attempting with movies like 'Bang Bang', and even going further back to Shahrukh Khan's 'Baadshah', (which sort of borrowed a lot from 'Rush Hour') and failing miserably.
'A Gentleman' is a well crafted story with better execution and performances that enrich the screenplay. It's the first time that a Bollywood movie has felt like it was a movie about characters that happened to be Indian in America, instead of Indian characters trying to convince the audience that they live in America, even though they look and act obviously out of place and touch. Except for one inaccurate 'Netflix and chill' reference.
Even when measuring the movie according the usual standards of misogyny and discrimination, 'A Gentleman' still passes. For a Bollywood movie set in Miami, there are absolutely no Black jokes or negative representation, even though there is a somewhat prominent Black guy thrown in as a plot point. Kavya, while still being the girl along for the ride, is never undermined or dismissed. She is a a sassy independent woman, who doesn't need to rely on anyone, even when her entire purpose is to be in situations that, in any other movie, would make her be the damsel in distress. But in 'A Gentleman', she even has to come to Gaurav's rescue in one of the finer action sequences of the movie.
'A Gentleman' also works as an comedy that doesn't dumb itself down to audiences. The way jokes are set up and punchlines are delivered are immediate, quick and effective. The same can be said of the suspense and pacing of the film. There's not much to slow things down, but keep everything going at a steady speed.
While my only complaint would be the under utilization of Sunil Shetty as an antagonist, Darshan Kumar's Yakub more than makes up for it. Kumar can be mostly recognized for his performances as Priyanka Chopra's husband in 'Mary Kom', or the bad guy in 'NH10', but he definitely stands out here. Kumar has all the making of being an incredible supporting actor, if not career-villain. He is able to match Malhotra's physicality, while still oozing some charisma on his own throughout the movie.
Speaking of physicality: Malhotra's action choreography is impressive here. While most of the movies in his career that needed him to fight have come off awkward and lanky, even 'Brothers' where he was trying to play an actual fighter, his work here is believable. The stunt and action sequences are done well, and engaging enough that it, once again, doesn't feel like a Bollywood movie.
Writers-directors Raj & D.K. are able to tell an original story with a twist, making use of their actors' strengths, while providing something new for Bollywood audiences in a genre that has only been somewhat accommodating in its offering for the industry. 'A Gentleman' is a true action comedy, that doesn't have to be anything else in an effort to pander to a general audience; that is the movie's biggest strength.