One of the most baffling bits about A Flying Jatt, a superhero film starring Tiger Shroff and Jacqueline Fernandez, is that its screenplay credit is shared by four writers (Tushar Hiranandani and Remo D’Souza, original screenplay; Aakash Kaushik and Madhur Sharma, additional screenplay and dialogues)—that a film so mediocre, juvenile, and inane needed four people to bring it to life boggles the mind and shudders the heart. In an ideal world, this film needed just one writer—someone of impressionable age and questionable intelligence—who, after the first draft, should have muttered, “I think I can do better than this.”
It’s a question as simple as this, but one that must be asked: How do D’Souza (director of films such as F.A.L.T.U, ABCD: Any Body Can Dance, ABCD 2) and Shroff (who has acted in Heropanti and Baaghi) continue to have careers in Bollywood? None of their films have been original or interesting or middling; in fact, they have been, even according to the intellectually compromised standards of Hindi commercial cinema, shoddy—films that shouldn’t have been made in the first place, which can only be seen, if at all, on fast-forward. It’s beyond doubt that D’Souza is a terrible director, and Shroff a terrible actor. So when a story pairs them together, the question is not whether it would make for a bad film, but exactly how bad.
A Flying Jatt revolves around a martial arts teacher, Aman (Shroff), who has no special talent or power. His students snub him; his mother taunts him; his long-time crush sees him as a friend. But, we soon get to know that, Aman is indeed special and destined for greatness, because his father was brave and renowned. A young man ordinary in every way possible, and yet expected to be famous only because his dad was successful—where have we seen this story before? A Flying Jatt, sans the action sequences, is the story of a Bollywood star kid.
So in the next few scenes, as expected, Aman does find his superpowers, and, quite surprisingly, for a brief while, the film stops being formulaic and insufferable. Aman’s become a superhero, but his family members are confused. They don’t know how a superhero is supposed to act. How should he fly, for instance? They watch DVDs of Hulk and Superman to find an answer. What about his costume? They try out different combinations (including one worn by Jadoo in Koi Mil Gaya). When Aman flies to save a bunch of citizens, he crashes into an SUV while landing, and his mother, watching him on TV, says, “Aise bhi koi land karta hai?” Aman is indeed a superhero like no other; when he’s flying, his mother tells him to buy “do kilo lauki”; he stops at red lights, breaks into a Sunny Leone song. This segment, albeit silly and short-lived, has a voice, is funny and pleasantly subversive, and it’d have been fun to see a superhero trying to accommodate the inherent ordinariness of everyday life. But for that you need an intelligent director and writer(s).
And so the film quickly gets lost in a cloud of seriousness, sanctimony, bad computer graphics, and unintentionally hilarity. In fact, it is remarkable how unintentionally hilarious A Flying Jatt is, comprising a cartoonish villain who lives on city’s noxious fumes and looks so testy in general that what he needs is not a duel with his nemesis but a simple old-fashioned hug, a totally uncalled for (and long) animated segment explaining the “Sikhs’ 12 O’clock story”, a fight in outer space rounded up by a quote from the director (“everything has an alternate. Except Mother Earth—Remo”)—you can’t make any of this up, only D’Souza can, and D’Souza does.
A Flying Jatt could have still been bearable had its hero, Shroff, showed some semblance of screen presence or acting chops. To his credit, though, he can dance fairly well, but that doesn’t make him an actor. He’s more suited to be a ‘baraati’ at a wedding as opposed to being an actor on a movie set. You really have to wonder about the bubble these people—the film’s actors, writers, producers—live in, and what sustains their delusions. Maybe we’ll know the answer once we start rejecting their egos.