As “Baaghi” opens, Tiger Schroff as Ronnie is balancing his whole body weight by his index finger and thumb – an incredible feat. In flashback we learn that Ronnie is an arrogant and rebellious young man. His worried father sends him to a former army buddy who is now Grandmaster Shifuji Shaurya Bharadwaj at an academy in Kerala teaching the ancient martial art form of Kalaripayattu. Kalari involves the discipline of kicking, spinning, punching and chopping for self-defense. Tiger excels here – no body doubles – and his moves are flawless. He is the Bollywood action star of the future.
The weakness of “Baaghi” is the love story. Ronnie meets Sia (Shraddha Kapoor) on board a train and is immediately attracted to her. They spend time together and love blossoms. Ronnie’s rival for Sia’s love is Raghav (Telugu actor Sudheer Babu), the Grandmaster’s villainous son. Raghav will do anything to marry her. Things become complicated when Sia’s father, a good-for-nothing gambler, takes bribe money to make the marriage happen. Daddy (Sunil Grover) plans to divide the lovers and he soon has Sia believing Ronnie is not good enough for her. Sia and Ronnie fight and break-up. But, when Sia still refuses to marry Raghav, he kidnaps her and takes her to his home base in Bangkok, Thailand. Still hurting from the breakup, Ronnie resentfully goes to rescue Sia. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to guess what happens next.
While the movie’s action scenes are strong, the love story needed to be more emotiona.Tiger and Shraddha didn’t convince me that their love had enough passion to justify so many fight-to-the-death scenes. Shraddha has a lovely voice and actually sang with Armaan Malik for “Sab Tera“, and her dance in “Chum Chum” is very sweet. Unfortunately, the story itself doesn’t give her much to do that is out of the ordinary except to participate in one action scene.
“Baaghi” is directed by Saabir Khan, who also directed Tiger’s debut film “Heropanti“. The film’s cinematographer, Binod Pradhan, makes us want to visit tropical Kerala, and some of the locations in Thailand are beautiful as well. The music was also an asset to the movie. “Baaghi” is a remake of the 2005 Telugu hit “Varsham”. The movie made Prabhas (Baahubali) a star. Prabhas and Trishna Kristnan’s playful personalities and passionate love story gave the story a perfect balance of action and romance, but, “Baaghi” shows us what is currently possible for Bollywood action movies.