Film Review: ‘Yodha’

“Yodha” is a film where spectacle clashes with incoherence, promises an action-thriller but ultimately fires a series of damp squibs.

In the center of this film is a dishonoured soldier who has been unceremoniously removed from an elite task force. He finds himself on a plane on a quest for vengeance and redemption.

Amidst the turbulence of malfunctioning planes and sketchy hydraulics, the narrative presented by co-directors Sagar Ambre and Pushkar Ojha collapses into chaos. The plot is weak and can be understood only by those who are daring enough to plunge into its shallowness.

The film opens with our protagonist, emerging from a river, clutching a smoke bomb in the colors of the national flag – a signal of his meticulous preparation. This level of precision somehow survives to the film’s climax, showcasing another tricolor smoke bomb enduring through explosion and inferno.

Even for those with a soft spot for Sidharth Malhotra, “Yodha” is a Herculean challenge, pushing viewers to jump from one narrative jolt to another. Here, passenger planes are trivialized as mere toys for commandos and evildoers who circumvent aviation realities with dramatic ease.

Set against a backdrop of geopolitical intrigue, with peace talks in Islamabad as its climax, “Yodha” introduces a budding terror plot seeking to detonate all hopes for harmony. The action mostly unfolds within the confines of an aircraft’s passenger cabin, later climaxing at Jinnah Hall. The narrative teeters on the edge of absurdity, testing the limits of terror-troupes and peace negotiations.

The audience is left strapped into their seats, mere spectators to a ludicrous story that spirals endlessly.

Logic is the first casualty of this high-altitude adventure, annihilated amidst gunfights and mayhem.

Sidharth Malhotra’s Arun Katyal is a battle-hardened warrior, wronged by the system and hungry for vindication after being scapegoated for a hijack gone wrong. Cast aside with his once-renowned team, Yodha Task Force now disbanded, Arun bides his time for payback.

His moment comes, shrouded in obscurity, aboard a flight from Delhi to London, leaving not only fellow passengers but viewers bewildered by the unfolding events. If the intent was to confound, the film lands its mark well—sense-making scenes are few and far between.

A cursory prelude depicting the honorable death of a soldier sets the stage, cutting to Arun Katyal’s own no-negotiation tactics against villains of an undefined nature. It’s an introduction to Arun’s impulsive modus operandi, prone to the perils of impetuousness reflected throughout the film.

“Arun Katyal” – a moniker tied to personal battles, inherited patriotism, and the tragedy of a family torn apart by duty. The hero’s once spotless record tarnishes under a backdrop of familial betrayal, misguided loyalty, and personal grudges.

Yodha’s ambitions unravel amidst a hijacking crisis where all is not as it seems. Here, flight attendants and pilots harbor their own secrets, culminating in a series of dramatic, close-combat brawls as the aircraft veers dangerously off-course.

“Yodha” attempts to chain together patriotism, drama, and heroism with a hero set on clearing his name. Yet, its trajectory sways erratically, begging for a cascade of edits to unveil a narrative that resonates with logic, realism, and genuine thrills.

On board is an intern with 200 hours of flying experience who takes control of the aircraft during the escalating crisis. However, nothing in Yodha adds up as the chaos unfolds. Sidharth Malhotra struggles to salvage the situation, displaying physical prowess but unable to elevate the confusion of Yodha. The rest of the cast jaywalk through the motions, their expressions revealing nothing but exasperation, mirroring the audience’s confusion rather than stoic bravery.

FF Ratings: ⭐️⭐️

By Akshat Sharma