Nikamma is based on the Nani and Sai Pallavi starrer hit Telugu film Middle Class Abbayi (2017). The film combines the elements of family drama with an action thriller, with comedic elements thrown in between.
Adi (Abhimanyu Dassani) is an aimless young man, who is asked by his elder brother (Samir Soni) to live with his bhabhi Avni (Shilpa Shetty) for a while when she gets posted elsewhere. She’s an RTO officer who raises hell for a local goon (Abhimanyu Singh) who is running an illegal taxi service. Adi thinks his strict sister-in-law has alienated him from his brother. When she comes to know that everything she did was aimed at his betterment, he has a change of heart and vows to protect her when he learns that the goon has put a supari on her.
The film is loud as they come from the first frame, where the protagonist is shown to win a cricket match using eidetic memory – don’t ask us to explain this. The initial portions, showing Shilpa Shetty as an avatar of Durga in Abhimanyu Dassani’s imagination contrive to make you laugh. There’s freshness in the way romance develops between Shirley Setia’s character and Abhimanyu’s in the sense that it’s the girl who proposes and indulges in the kind of courtship behavior reserved for the lads in our films. But as soon as the hero challenges the villain to do his worst, you know how it’s all going to end. The film is supposed to be a cat and mouse game between the hero and the villain but it runs on predictable lines and kind of drags towards the end. The villain becomes more bombastic by the minute, the hero becomes louder, and you hope people start killing each other soon so it all ends. The twist is that even death doesn’t end the rigramole. It takes a life of its own…
Abhimanyu Dassani is choosing films with a thought towards marketing him as a versatile actor. His last release, Meenakshi Sundareshwar, saw him as an old-fashioned romantic hero and the present film marks him out to be a mass actor. He gives his 100 per cent to playing the loud, over-the-top hero. Whether the audience accepts him or not remains to be seen. This was supposed to be Shilpa Shetty’s comeback film but it got stranded because of the coronavirus and she made a comeback with Hungama 2. She’s good as the strict bhabhi and official and gets to execute some stunts as well. Given the fact that she’s going to feature in Rohit Shetty’s web series Indian Police Force, we kind of get a glimpse of what she’s capable of as a cop. Shirley Setia has been taken to provide the oomph, which she does amply.
Bhumika Chawla was much admired for her role in the original, which revolved around the interaction between bhabhi and devar. Here, that emotional punch is missing and that’s the film’s main problem. If only the action scenes were balanced by the drama, we’d have gotten a better film.
Rachana Dubey, June 17, 2022, 5:23 PM IST
STORY: When a jobless middle-class boy Adi (Abhimanyu Dassani) realises that his sister-in-law, RTO officer Avni (Shilpa Shetty) has always meant well and cared for him, he starts protecting her discreetly against Vikramjit (Abhimanyu Singh), a rogue businessman who wishes to become a politician. Does he succeed?
REVIEW: Adi (Abhimanyu Dassani) is an aimless young man, forced to live with his bhabhi Avni (Shilpa Shetty), an honest RTO officer. They seem emotionally disconnected from one another, until circumstances bring out the truth to Adi. His bhabhi has always been on his team and is willing to make sacrifices to see him succeed. When a threat looms large on Avni’s life, Adi decides to discreetly guard her.
Director Sabbir Khan’ remake of Middle Class Abbayi (Telugu), starring Nani and Sai Pallavi, aims to present the story of a middle class family, its beliefs, actions and reactions to tough situations. What it eventually does is present a confused tale of a young lad, whiling away his life and family’s money, until he’s made to realise his sister-in-law’s true emotions for him. In a runtime of two hours and twenty eight minutes, the film has very little to offer in terms of entertainment. A few funny lines here and there, and some power-packed action scenes are insufficient to glue the wafer-thin plot together and make it entertaining.
The movie feels way too lengthy for its runtime. The story takes very long to come to its central issue which also seems dated. The film picks up pace at times but loses steam very quickly. One of the film’s weakest points is its story (Venu Sriram), followed by editing and direction. This remake falters at way too many places and defies common sense and logic at regular intervals. Without giving away the finer details of the narrative, it’s suffice to say that the characters and their journeys have not been crafted thoughtfully, although there was ample room to do that. We’ve seen films where a young hero is someone without a purpose in life, and he eventually comes of age and finds his way. Some of these characters, and later, the films have charmed their way into the audience’s hearts but sadly, that doesn’t here – largely because the writing is weak.
Abhimanyu Dassani shows promise as an actor but finds no support from the writing and direction departments. Shilpa Shetty Kundra looks stunning and performs well in the limited character that she has on her hands. Shirley Setia is pretty but has very little scope to display any of her wars as an actress. Even the romantic angle between her character Natasha and Abhimanyu’s character Adi doesn’t stick. Actors like Sachin Khedekar, Samir Soni and Vikram Gokhale, and a comedian like Sudesh Lehri have been relegated to bit roles.
The overall look of the central characters seems out of place for a fictitious small-town like Dhaamli where the story unfolds. The film had ample scope for music, too, but the tracks are not memorable, barring the title track, Nikamma kiya, which is the rebooted version of an old song. Overall, the film could have done a lot if the writing was more clearly structured, the editing tighter and the direction a lot more focusedsed on finer details of the story and characters.