Starring Arjun Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, and Manoj Bajpayee. Rated PG. Now playing
In Tevar, Amit Sharma has made his feature-length directorial debut with a classic Bollywood masala film. And while we have seen all of this before, there’s enough warmth and chemistry coming from the film’s young leads to make for an enjoyable retread.
Tevar is the fourth remake of the original 2003 Telugu film Okkadu. It is the story of Pintoo (Arjun Kapoor), a kabbadi player who is beloved by his friends and routinely intervenes when women are harassed in his hometown of Agra. Meanwhile, in the neighbouring city of Mathura, university student and dancer Radhika (Sonakshi Sinha) unwittingly catches the eye of Gajender Singh (Manoj Bajpayee), a brutal and politically connected thug.
Gajender proposes to Radhika and is rejected in a manner that would have made Elizabeth Bennet proud. He takes it badly and tries to kidnap Radhika. Pintoo, who is visiting the city, acts on impulse and intervenes. The rest of the movie is taken up with an extended cat-and-mouse game in which Radhika and Pintoo try to escape Gajender and his goons.
What saves this formula from tedium is that the characters grow on you. Kapoor infuses a playfulness and sincerity into the standard underdog role. You can’t help but root for him. And while Sinha spends too much of her screen time gazing adoringly while waiting to be rescued, she does make the most of the scenes she is given. Her character, mind you, would have been vastly improved by having her rescue herself occasionally.
Bajpayee is also creepily effective as a goon with a tiny brain, while the supporting characters are surprisingly distinctive.
The basic elements of this plot might be exceedingly familiar, but Tevar shows us why they are so often revisited.