After months of eager anticipation, Siddharth Anand’s action drama ‘Fighter’ has finally taken flight, and it does not disappoint. Led by powerhouse performances from Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone and propelled by adrenaline-pumping aerial action sequences, ‘Fighter’ delivers an exhilarating cinematic experience that sets it apart as a unique addition to the aviation film genre.
Centered around an Indian Air Force pilot with ace flying skills but a rebellious streak, the story follows Roshan’s character Shamsher, call sign “Patty,” as he navigates a perilous mission against a sinister threat while also pursuing a romantic connection with Padukone’s character, fellow pilot Minal. Right from its opening frames, ‘Fighter’ straps viewers into the cockpit and never lets up on the thrill ride. We get stunning visuals of fighter jets screaming across the sky interspersed with close-quarter shots of the pilots’ steel-eyed concentration as they pull gravity-defying maneuvers.
Anand, known for directing surging action spectacles like ‘War’ and ‘Pathaan’, is clearly in his element here constructing exhilarating flight sequences that have all the heart-stopping excitement of experiencing the speeds and g-forces firsthand. The aerial choreography, often captured through sweeping drone shots and cameras mounted on the planes, is simply breathtaking.
But the director also ensures there is emotional weight to match the visceral thrills. At the heart of ‘Fighter’ is the strained but unwavering camaraderie between the pilots of Shamsher’s squadron, the heft of their duty-bound sacrifices, and the simmering romantic dynamic between Shamsher and Minal.
Roshan delivers what is arguably a career-best performance, portraying Shamsher as an elite pilot yet still accessible and human. His trademark intensity is on full display especially during the death-defying aerial stunt work, yet Roshan also nails the quick-witted charm and conflicted conscience that make Shamsher compellingly three-dimensional.
Matching him scene for scene is Padukone, who brings subtle strength, sharp intelligence, and spirited comradery to the character of Minal. The two share crackling chemistry whether trading quips during training sessions on the ground or communicating wordlessly across radio channels in the skies.
The film’s supporting cast provides memorable turns as well, from Anil Kapoor as the grizzled, glowering commanding officer to Rishab Sawhney as the chilling villain. Akshay Oberoi and Karan Singh Grover make the most of their screen time as Shamsher’s close pilot allies.
From a technical perspective, ‘Fighter’ is flawlessly executed. The cinematography, editing, visual effects, and sound design combine to create an immersive, hi-tech world brimming with gritty realism. One could criticize the film’s final act as going somewhat over-the-top and inflated, but that’s a minor quibble given the satisfaction attained by the climax’s explosive, patriotic payoff.
Ultimately, ‘Fighter’ accomplishes the difficult balance of marrying pulpy popcorn entertainment with emotional depth and technical virtuosity. It draws clear inspiration from classics like ‘Top Gun’ while still establishing its own unique Indian military fiction identity. Buoyed by the charismatic pairing of Roshan and Padukone and filled with white-knuckle flying sequences, ‘Fighter’ is one of the most thrilling cinematic rides in recent memory.
Released digitally on January 25th, 2024, ‘Fighter’ is now available for download in HD and streaming on major OTT platforms. With vivid visuals and heart-pounding sound, this is a film truly meant to be experienced on the biggest screen possible. But whether you catch it digitally or wait to see it in theaters as Covid hopeful recedes, ‘Fighter’ is an absolute must-watch for fans of aviation action cinema.
Siddharth Anand once again proves his mastery of blending popcorn entertainment with emotional storytelling, while Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone demonstrate why they are two of the most compelling star performers in Indian cinema today. ‘Fighter’ lives up to its name as a high-flying, triumphant action drama that cements a place as an exhilarating new classic of the genre. Set your thrusters to maximum – this is a cinematic ride built to take your breath away.