Cast: Akshay Kumar, ShrutiHaasan, SumanTalwar, Sunil Grover, KareenaKapoor Khan
Gabbar is back - and so is Akshay Kumar, with a big-screen bang.Professor Aditya (Akshay) has a secret life as vigilante Gabbar who terrorizes government officials. Gabbar and his gang kidnap tehsildars, collectors and cops, hanging the most corrupt in public. As the police search frantically for this rebel with a cause, Gabbar decides corrupt builder Patil (Suman) kobhisazaamilegi, barabarmilegi - does Gabbar succeed?
Legend says Amjad Khan as Sholay's dreaded iconic villain Gabbar Singh was so explosive, cassettes featuring just Gabbar's dialogues sold for years. Gabbar Is Back picks up that high-voltage pulse, remixing it cleverly with the biggest concern of contemporary times - corruption. This Gabbar also terrorizes - but only targets the corrupt. For aam citizens, Gabbar's an inspiring figure - one who makes you cheer for the 'bad' guy.
Akshay Kumar has a blast playing Gabbar who, with dark, wavy hair and bristly beard, has never looked hotter. With twinkling eyes and deadpan face, Akshay delivers dynamite dialogues - 'Naam se villain, kaam se hero', flawless bone-breaking action, redefining PWD ('power-waladanda'), switching from loose-limbed vulnerability to jaw-clenched intensity in a flash.
The story powers him with its novel concept (a moral universe where Gabbar is hero and Thakur, a smug cop, snapping at bright constable Sadhuram, played by straight-faced Sunil Grover) and contrasts. Doctors pretending to treat a dead man, nervous officials returning bribes via money orders, tickle you with dark comedy. But you wince as Aditya hears mocking 'apologies' by babus, bribed to pass a faulty building that collapses - with many lives.
With gritty reality, Gabbar has glamour too - Shruti charms with her soft, pretty appeal while a cameo by Kareena adds sheen but doesn't divert. The second half's blood pressure doesn't fully match the first (Patil's insistent 'I am a brand!' gets repetitive while CBI officer Pahwa looks clueless without Sadhuram's 'axellent' work) - but the climax pushes up the adrenaline again.
While the music's pleasantly seamless, the editing is razor-sharp, evoking Manmohan Desai, rushing you from one entertaining scene to the next, without time to figure things out - but just enough to feel.