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Ruslaan Review - A formulaic hero-worshipping affair where Aayush Sharma dodges bullets like petals

Ruslaan Review: A formulaic hero-worshipping affair where Aayush Sharma dodges bullets like petals

Ruslaan Review - A formulaic hero-worshipping affair where Aayush Sharma dodges bullets like petals
Ruslan Movie Review

Last Updated: 03.18 PM, Apr 26, 2024


Ruslaan (Aayush Sharma), meaning 'lion', is an aspiring agent who wants to work with R&AW, which is led by Mantra (Vidya Malavde). Mantra is very lenient towards an agent who disobeys her orders multiple times when it comes to matters concerning the country’s protection. The agent is given another chance as he is stubborn to prove that a terrorist’s son can be a patriot and his troubled childhood, where he saw his terrorist father getting killed, haunts him. He decides to take down an entire syndicate that plans a deadly attack on Mumbai and he does that with every single strand of his hair in place and set to perfection.

Ruslaan Review:

Movies that worship their leading star have defined Indian cinema for years. The South is still at it and films like Pushpa, KGF, and more have fantasised about the last drop out of the thirst of these creative folks involved in hyper-machismo. No one cares about the logic that a person who has been shot multiple times cannot even stand, forgetting dialogues in the next 5 minutes. 

So when you see another movie where the hero enters in soft focus and is zoomed in when he kills the man in the first scene while his cleavage shines because of the most expensive highlighter available, you smell what you are about to witness from miles away. And Ruslaan is no exception. The need to have the focus on Aayush is evident and the star even tries very hard to justify that an entire vehicle is assembled so he could be the HERO (in caps, of course).


Directed by Karan Lalit Butani from a story by Shiva, screenplay by Yunus Sajawal and dialogue by Kavin Dave and Mohit Srivastava, Ruslaan is as formulaic as it gets. You are introduced to a little boy in 2004, Mumbai, as one night he sees his terrorist father getting encountered and later being ridiculed for being his son. Soon he is adopted by a man who gets promoted to ATS Chief of Mumbai.

Ruslaan wants to prove that he is a patriot and that his birth parents and their wrongdoings do not define him. We soon see a man with a chiselled body and martial arts skills like his training was done in Angkor. You are in it because you also hooted for Jawan last year, and there is no way you wouldn't for this one too. (I am only talking about the trajectories and not comparing them.).

But what follows is so unlike Jawan that the hoots are silenced the very next moment. The movie goes into Pakistan (unnamed for the most part) and China, wanting to end India. The 'new India will fight back' trope gets so mundane and boring that you are only left curious about how Ruslaan manages his grooming routine. What hair spray does he use to keep his hairstyle so steady all the time? How does he dodge every bullet from multiple machine guns while he is standing in the open with no cover at all? Why are we juicing the last drops out of the India-Pakistan-China enmity trajectory like there's no other conflict left in the world?

To fill this up, sleeper cells are added, a college fest is brought in where youth is being radicalised, and all of this ends up becoming personal for Ruslaan because, remember, he has to prove his patriotism? Well, there is no denial that some things do land in Ruslaan, like the action that seems very animated in the first sequence but grows to be good in the rest. But it is overshadowed by the fact that we have seen all of this before. It is not necessary that what made one superstar shine will help another star get the limelight.

It can also feel like a diluted product. Plus, in what year did a team of three writers and a director think it was cool to cast a healthy actor alongside a chiselled actor and make him the best friend whose name is Tabla? Have we not body-shamed enough? It isn't funny anymore.

Aayush Sharma tries too hard to be the star that this movie wants to worship. He dances, fires bullets in style, and does action like it's nobody’s business. But there has to be something that sets his One Man Army apart from the ones we have seen over the years. The actor is indeed growing and his impressive performance in Antim was proof. But here he is trying to be something rather than organically letting the character take over. Others are placed in the film so the actor can shine and never become a strong standalone character. They are decent at what is offered to them.

The direction of Ruslaan is also making efforts to make it look fresh. It adds to the conversation around influencers to sound relevant; there are young people talking about stress eating. But when they chose to place a plot twist where a government servant from the defence is revealed as a bad man in disguise, it feels like a lack of research and logic. But then there are too many moments like that. The music is average and so is the cinematography. The action sequence in a lift stands out, though.

Ruslaan Review: Final Verdict

Ruslaan suffers because it uses a formula that is used by many others and there is only a certain way it can be redone now without feeling mundane. Aayush Sharma indeed has a lot of potential, but these are not the projects that will bring that out.

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