The action genre in the Hindi cinema space has upped its game thanks to the Commando film series starring Vidyut Jamwal, which has made viewing the action on the big screen a thrilling experience. Apart from him, there are plenty of actors who have forayed into this genre and gained some appreciation for going out of their way to make the audience love the energy. Adding another television show to the Commando series, Vipul Amrutlal Shah brings to the audience the story of another soldier who goes out of his way to rescue his friend from enemy territory.
Commando begins in Sahiwal, Pakistan, where the enemy country is developing a deadly virus to be used on the Indian population as an instrument of biological warfare, something that has never been attempted before, and the enemy country wants to create mayhem across the nation. Their plan goes awry when their consignment is captured at the border, which exposes the mole inside the Pakistani lab that had intel on this weapon of mass destruction. Kshitij, the Indian man inside Pakistani intelligence, is captured red-handed by top bosses and is being tortured to obtain information about the device that could reinstate the now-defunct lab. Back in India, Virat, who is a Commando, on hearing of the capture of his best friend, prepares a foolproof plan to infiltrate enemy territory and extract Kshitij with the bare minimum of casualties. He is joined by a few informants working for India from Pakistan and another fellow Commando to make sure the mission is a success. Virat and his tiny team’s resilience to bring back Kshitij forms the crux of the show.
The series had a decent start, which spoke about the intentions of the enemy country, but a lot of the story is lost in the erratic screenplay that marred the narrative aspect. There were a couple of subplots regarding two principal characters and their love stories that could have been avoided in favor of giving more space to the actual extraction part and giving the audience what they wanted from the show, unlimited action sequences. The screenplay goes from place to place in no time, which abruptly interrupts the viewing experience. The character will say something, and then it will be done in the next second. The writing of the show was linear, which kept Commando balanced for some time, and the story, though predictable, only brought the energy down in a few places. Kudos to the writers for not stretching the narrative too much, and four episodes was just enough to club in all the plots and subplots to take the show to the climax. The running time of each episode is appropriate for the kind of media we are watching, which in this case is equivalent to a 2-hour movie. Keeping in mind that the last action film people enjoyed was Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning, which had a running time of three hours and was a bit of a slogfest, Commando keeps it under control.
The dialogue of Commando is something the writers could have worked on, for a lot of it seems way too jingoistic and carries no emotion. A lot of chest-thumping writing could cater to what the current audience wants, but in the long run, only the emotions work. Action movies resonate if a splash of sentiment is added, just like in Uri or Shershah, which worked wonders with the audience. We wish the makers of the movie could tone down on demonizing the neighboring country because, after a point, a lot of the Pakistani characters feel caricature-ish instead of real humans with flesh and blood. Yes, the enmity between soldiers on both sides is at an all-time high, but soldiers who are doing their job, protecting their nation, shouldn’t be demeaned. It was interesting to watch the show cast two leading ladies as the principal characters with a purpose in mind instead of casting them just for the sake of it. The climax is predictable, which in most television shows has one common trait: the hero is only the winner. The writers and the director could have invested more time in giving the show a good, conclusive ending instead of relying on commercial elements. The good ending could still have set the tone for the next season, which seems to be in the works.
The show is technically good, and it is one of the many aspects that makes Commando engaging till the end. The direction by Vipul Amrutlal Shah only falters in a few places, but most of the time, he aims to give the audience one-of-a-kind action choreography in every episode. This is the highlight of the Commando series, and action director Andreas Nguyen’s work is commendable. The action sequences are rooted in the setting, which allows the viewers to not get distracted. The qualm remains that Adah Sharma’s action choreography came across as clumsy in most places.
A sense of feistiness was absent in almost all the scenes where she had to perform some brutal action sequences along with Prem Parija. The editing by Steven Bernard kept the narrative intact and did not allow the show to meander much into uncharted territory. It is the sound design and the background score that send a jolt across the hearing senses. It was amplified to match the jingoistic nature of the film, and there is no coming back from something that loud.
In an action-genre movie or television show, the acting chops of an actor are barely noticed, and most of them are busy flexing their muscles, beating up as many targets as they can. It is always the role of the boss, who sits behind many screens, to monitor the situation on the ground and deliver their performance with finesse. Prem Parija, the debutante, was able to deliver and enunciate the dialogues pretty well, and he does have a screen presence thanks to the six packs he flaunted.
Adah Sharma, ever since her sting with The Kerala Story, should not be typecast for someone who could do any accent from the southern region of our country. The vague Hyderabadi accent that she uses is something that could be borderline infuriating. The makers could have cast an actor from Hyderabad to justify the character. Amit Sial as Colonel Jaffer and Tigmanshu Dhulia as Virat’s boss seem to be having a gala time playing the good guy and the bad guy because only talented actors such as them would have been able to pull off such stereotypical roles. Amit Sial is incredible in his diction, but the writers could have given him some gravitas instead of making him scream at the top of his lungs from time to time. Overall, Commando is a decent watch if action-packed television shows are something that makes your weekend bearable. It delivers exactly what viewers expect.