Fighter Movie Review: Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone Soar in Patriotic Drama 2024

Politics play a complex role in ‘Fighter,’ a Bollywood military drama heavily inspired by ‘Top Gun: Maverick.’ Released to coincide with India’s Republic Day, ‘Fighter’ directly references the 2019 Pulwama attack, where 40 Indian military police were killed in Kashmir, and the subsequent Balakot air strike, which remains controversial in its casualty count. The film taps into nationalist sentiments prevalent in contemporary Hindi cinema and Modi-era India, crafting a crowd-pleasing narrative against this backdrop of real-life events.”

“However, ‘Fighter’ doesn’t rely on surprises as its main appeal. The creators closely adhere to formulaic story beats and typical Bollywood melodrama. The film largely revolves around the camaraderie and romance between two exemplary Indian Air Force pilots portrayed by Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone, alongside a few of their comrades. ‘Fighter’ inevitably climaxes with a heated confrontation in Pakistani Occupied Kashmir, accompanied by a provocative hint that the next conflict could be in ‘Indian Occupied Pakistan.’ Despite being banned from theatrical release in Gulf countries, including the United Arab Emirates, ‘Fighter’ enjoyed success this past weekend.”

A daring yet ingenious squadron leader and his team of elite fighter pilots confront mortal dangers and inner demons as they band together for a perilous mission.

  • Director
    • Siddharth Anand
  • Writers
    • Siddharth AnandRamon ChibbAbbas Dalal
  • Stars
    • Hrithik Roshan
    • Deepika Padukone
    • Anil Kapoor
Fighter Movie Review: Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone

The creators of “Fighter” employ some standard maneuvers when it comes to framing their characters’ nationalist motivations. The film doesn’t vilify the Pakistani people; instead, it targets a group of India-hating terrorists led by the unapologetic Azhar Akthar (played by Rishabh Sawhney) and criticizes the Pakistani Air Force for allowing Akhtar’s group to cross the Line of Control between Indian and Pakistani territories.

The choice to use the Pulwama attack as a dramatic catalyst in “Fighter” aligns with this narrative, echoing real-life events where 40 Indian soldiers were tragically killed. The movie sidesteps any critique of the Indian government or army, focusing instead on a narrative akin to a “Top Gun” sequel.

The film’s portrayal of the Indian Air Force follows a formulaic path, complete with romantic musical interludes and a familiar “Top Gun” style chain of command drama. The story revolves around rebel pilot Shamsher “Patty” Pathania (played by Roshan) and his clashes with Group Captain Rakesh “Rocky” Jai Singh (played by Anil Kapoor). Despite their differences, they unite for a perilous mission culminating in an exaggerated game of chicken. The movie mixes energetic but ordinary musical numbers with scenes depicting both the hard work and play of Air Force pilots.

Roshan brings his charisma to the forefront, especially in scenes where Patty engages in light-hearted antics, such as attempting to charm a plate of biryani from a pair of hungry strangers. Emotional depth remains superficial in “Fighter,” where villains sport one-dimensional traits like a bloodshot eye, and airborne action scenes heavily rely on computer-generated imagery.

Fighter Movie Review: Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone

In terms of performance, while Deepika Padukone hits her marks, Roshan dominates the screen, selling the emotional weight of the popcorn-cheesy material. He portrays Patty as a dependable hero driven by a generic desire for revenge.

Director Siddharth Anand, previously known for the 2019 film “War,” finds a more stable ground with Roshan in “Fighter,” showcasing the star’s appeal, particularly in musical and aerial sequences where Roshan captivates with his hazel green eyes alone.

Ultimately, “Fighter” could aptly be renamed “Believer,” as it centers on Patty’s unwavering belief in India’s ability to overcome its adversaries. While it follows a familiar path of similar Bollywood blockbusters, “Fighter” delivers on its promises, offering thrilling aerial sequences that resonate well in a quality cinema experience.