Romeo Akbar Walter Movie Review John Abraham delivers a B grade Raazi with Mouni Roy

Apr 5 2019 3:18PM


Romeo, Akbar, Walter - three identities, one person and zero expressions. That the best way to sum up RAW, the two-and-a-half hour long yawn fest directed by Robbie Grewal. Set in 1971 when relations between India, Pakistan and East Pakistan were tense; back home, R&AW (RAW, Research and Analysis Wing) was busy polishing their best spy to go behind enemy lines. His job: get as much information as possible.

Wait! But does not that sound like Meghna Gulzar 2018 film Raazi? It does, to a certain extent. However, Romeo Akbar Walter is a paler cousin of Raazi.

Romeo Ali (John Abraham), a teller in a bank by day and a theatre artist by night, catches the eye of RAW Chief Srikant Rai (Jackie Shroff) during one of his performances. The finesse with which Romeo disguises himself on stage every day wins over the RAW chief, who decides to recruit him for an important mission.

After a crash course in spying, Romeo is dispatched to Pakistan as Akbar with a new haircut and kohl-rimmed eyes. That how director Robbie Grewal turns a common man into a spy who is responsible for carrying out one of the biggest undercover missions across the border.

30 minutes into the slowest spy thriller ever, you decide to forgive the director thinking that things will get intense and edgy with Akbar arrival in Pakistan. But Grewal fails to deliver here too.

Most twists and turns neither evoke excitement nor nervousness. From hidden transmitters to polygraph tests to third-degree torture to poor disguises, the film delves into every over-abused trick in the magic box that is Bollywood espionage thrillers. The narrative seems so outstretched, playing so hard on cliches and conventions, that all you want to do is sink into your chair a little more, and look for a perfect position to doze off.

If the slow pace of the film plays a spoiler, John Abraham wooden expression adds to the 144-minute long trauma. Despite many close-up shots, its hard to find a speck of expression on John face in this film. Mouni Roy, who made a mark with Akshay Kumar in Gold last year, has absolutely nothing to do here. However, its the supporting cast that comes to the rescue and tries redeeming the film. Sikander Kher, who plays a menacing Pakistani police officer, tries to deliver a commendable performance. Alka Amin as John mother delivers a pitch-perfect act. But alas. None of these can make up for the fact that RAW loses the plot within the first half hour of its runtime.

Romeo Akbar Walter tries hard to invoke a sense of patriotism but fails miserably. This weekend, do yourself a favour, skip this film and instead watch Sooryavansham on TV. It will soon be on one of those OTT platforms.

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