Baaghi is really not a good movie. But it is a very fun movie! Mostly because it takes all the good bits of a bunch of other films and leaves out the boring bits.
(part 1 here)
I left off at the Interval. In Flashback Land, we were at the Master being killed by his son Sudheer Babu who is in love with Shraddha Kapoor who is herself in love with Tiger Shroff who also loves her. But he is very sad because his Master was killed just as he was finally mastering Kung Fu. Meanwhile, in Present Day Land, Shraddha is an actress who was kidnapped by Sudheer Babu and taken to Bangkok, and her producer hired Tiger Shroff to bring her back. And now we are in Bangkok! At the airport!
Obviously, we don’t come back from the interval and dive right into the plot, because this is very much a popcorn movie, which means the lines at concessions will be huge and nobody will make it back in time to catch the first minutes post interval. So, it’s where they put a stupid comedy bit. This is one of those bits that I don’t recognize as from anything else, but I am positive are from something else, because I don’t think this director/screenwriter is capable of writing anything original.
A cab driver in Bangkok outside the airport is cleaning his cab and singing to it in Hindi. He polishes and polishes and then the camera pans over to show a pair of naked legs standing in front of the cab, which of course he accidentally starts polishing as well. Not to worry, it’s not sexual assault because it’s a Thai woman, and we all know that if the woman isn’t Indian, it doesn’t count. And also, she’s probably a prostitute (as are all non-Indian women).
In this case, while the camera and director may have been assaulting this poor woman, the cab driver was not. His brother-in-law rushes up to explain that he is blind and thought he was polishing the cab. I guess this is “funny”? It’s often hard for me to tell.
I do think it’s kind of funny when they see Tiger coming out of the airport and decide he must be Italien, not Indian. They’re right! Tiger really doesn’t look Indian! Especially wearing all black cool guy clothes. They want a non-Indian passenger, because they are running a scam, and they need someone who can’t understand Hindi.
Why would you wear both a shirt and a jacket, and then not button either?)
Tiger gets in the cab, not letting on that he can’t understand Hindi, and hears the driver and his brother-in-law talking, the brother-in-law giving directions while the driver drives. Tiger leaps in at a pivotal point in Hindi, gasp! He can understand! The cabdriver(s) explain that the driver has a license but is blind, and the brother-in-law can see, but can’t drive. So he gives directions and the driver follows them, and this way they can make money to send home to India. If it weren’t so ridiculous and farcical, it would be a touching statement about overseas workers suffering abroad!
Tiger is touched, at least a little, so when they get to the address, he invites them to come in with him and make some money. The address, of course, is an underground fighting club. Because those are just all over the place and everyone knows where to find them.
This is also the part that is basically just Ong-Bak: Thai Warrior. There are a few small changes, Tiger is here on purpose not by accident. And he uses a high kick, not a leap like this. But the set is identical, a square windowless room with people gathered around the edges and a fighting ring in the middle. The hero enters in time to see the last fight end viciously, everything is watched over by the owner on closed circuit TVs from an observation room up top, and then the hero goes into the ring, no one believes he can win, and he knocks out his much larger opponent with one hit. That’s the clever bit, that they build up all this anticipation for a fight, and immediately undercut it.
(It’s the first few second here)
In this version, they add in that the cab driver is blind so he bets all his money on the wrong guy just based on his size (I think the same thing with the bet might have happened in Ong-Bak with his new friend? Because he is so small they thought he couldn’t win), but then doesn’t realize he has lost it all because he couldn’t see the fight. Ha-ha?
But they don’t hold it against him and take him back to their apartment anyway. Where Tiger sits around the living room and looks at the ring on his hand and flashes back to the past again. He is all sad at the gravesite of his Master when the cops show up! No! They are arresting him for beating people up and generally being bad. I think. It’s not really clear. The point is, he’s being arrested! And as he is driven off, he sees Shraddha’s father waving at him from the back of a nearby car. No! The evilness!
And then almost immediately with no need to intervening scenes explaining how he got out of jail, he is meeting Shraddha! On a scenic land slip thing in the middle of the water. She is all mad at him for being arrested (huh?), and he is all mad because he thinks that her father set him up. She is even madder because she points out that her father paid his bail, how could he say such a thing! Finally, he gives her an ultimatum, and says that if she comes to the train station the next day when he leaves, he will know she still in love with him, but otherwise he will never show her his face again! And then he walks dramatically away.
So sudden! In Varsham, this scene was after a bit more build up. Her father had been trying to break them up for a while, and first tried to get them apart because Prabhas didn’t have a job. But after that little fight was smoothed over by Prabhas getting a job, then her father framed him and made it look like he was smuggling in order to make more money. It kind of worked on the audience too, we saw them have a big fight about him needing a job, and then all of a sudden he has a job out of nowhere. It feels like maybe there was a small chance he actually did sign up with some criminals just to end the fight. Which makes it easier to forgive her for thinking that maybe the police actually were right, because the audience kind of thought that too. And also, her father had this whole scene where he talked about what a terrible person he was, but he just wanted her to be happy and married to a nice boy like Prabhas. Which, again, tricked the audience at first into believing him, so we can forgive her for believing him. But Baaghi cut all of that, so it’s just this big stupid fight out of nowhere.
Shraddha goes home, all upset, and now we get a half second scene of her father being nice and offering to go talk to Tiger for her. But of course, he doesn’t. Instead, we see Tiger all alone at the train station, finally giving up and just getting on the train. And then back in Shraddha’s house, her father comes home, but takes a moment before entering to bang his head against the wall and rip his shirt. And then he comes in, playing it all noble, saying Tiger “barely hurt him!” and finally reluctantly telling her that Tiger gave him her ring to give back. Again, background missing! In Varsham, she has already been offered her first film and Prabhas is standing in her way (because she really doesn’t want to act so he is supporting her against her father, not because it is a creepy patriarchal thing. Although it is a little bit that too), so her father has a specific reason to try to break them up. Not just general evilness. Oh, and a sad song sort of weaves in and out of this bit without ever actually turning into a full song sequence.
And we are finally done with flashbacks! Woot! In the present, there is a knock on the door in Bangkok and a bunch of gundas are there ready to beat people up! And this is the other bit that is a direct lift from Ong-Bak. But a really impressive one! Tony Jaa does this awesome run through the streets, all sorts of impossible leaps and ducks and climbs. Just the fact that the director can come close to filming something similar, and Tiger can come close to doing it, is enough to make this impressive.
And then I think we take a break and check in with Shraddha. She is leaning against a window looking sad. Although from the first angle we got of her, it looked like she was just sitting with her head cocked weirdly for no reason. She is asleep? Maybe? Sudheer Babu comes up and kind of sweetly brushes the hair out of her face. And tells her that she isn’t to worry, he won’t even touch her until after they are married, because he really loves her. Awwwwww! But even without touching, he puts a huge diamond necklace around her neck. Awwwwwwwwwwww! Marry this man! He’s rich, and sweet!
She disagrees with me. And wakes up and immediately starts making a fuss. The henchgoons burst in and start trying to restrain her, and she beats them all up. Sudheer Babu just sits back and watches with a big adoring smile on his face. Look! He even likes her spunkiness! They are perfect together! Forget Tiger! And then it ends when one of the henchgoons hits her from behind with a tea tray. And Sudheer freaks out and insists that they need to take her to the hospital. Wait, all of the other fight injuries are fine but she gets a little bump on the head and they have to go to the hospital? Also, they have an illegal fight club empire and they don’t have an onsite doctor?
Oh wait, this bit must be before the other bit, because I remember watching the sad flashback song and thinking “Aha! That’s how Shraddha knew how to fight! Because Tiger taught her!” And also, “How did Tiger dedicate himself to training, but also have time to teach Shraddha?”
Meanwhile, here is a random goon in his house in Bangkok coming home to his wife. Oh, isn’t that nice! That he brought his wife with him from India, instead of leaving her at home like the cab driver did. But, oh no! Now Tiger is there! With a gun! Threatening the wife! Unless “Biju” tells him where Shraddha is. I think maybe he knows Biju from Flashback Land? Like, he was one of the random other students at the school or something? Biju keeps saying he can’t shoot his wife, like he knows Tiger doesn’t have it in him, but then Tiger does shoot her! I think. The gun goes off, and we cut away real quick.
And then Tiger and the “funny” cab driver are driving to the hospital. With the Asian fighter hostage they captured in the trunk of their cab. But how to get in! With Sudheer Badu and the henchgoons sitting around in the coffee shop that is immediately outside the ICU? I don’t get this hospital layout. Not to worry, Tiger has a brilliant plan! He puts on a white coat and pretends to be a doctor! I have never seen that before in a movie! He also puts on a face mask to cover his mouth. Because it’s not like his eyes/hair are at all distinctive.
(I think the henchgoon might be the Korean team captain here)
He sneaks into Shraddha’s room by just following a nurse in, and Shraddha recognizes him. Once he lowers his mask. Because she loves him, but still can’t tell who he is just based on his eyes. He’s almost as good at disguise as Hrithik was in Dhoom 3! Remember when he dressed up like a janitor who looked like Hrithik? Or a Greek statue that looked like Hrithik (never mind, all Greek statues look like Hrithik)? Or a Queen of England who looked like Hrithik?
Once Shraddha recognizes him, she immediately whacks the nurse with the medicine tray and grabs her white coat, and mask, so she can be impenetrably disguised as well. And it works! They easily slip out the door and past the guards. But meanwhile, one of the henchgoons is apparently the brother of the henchgoon who is in the car, and has managed to reach him on his cell phone. Wait, they tied him up and threw him in the trunk, but didn’t bother to search him for a cell phone? And this tiny flaw in their perfect plan has tripped them up, now the brother knows the truth, and Sudheer Babu and his henchgoons are rushing through the hospital. Oh no! They’ve found them! Tiger slowly turns, and then quickly grabs Shraddha and holds a scalpel to her throat. Oh no! He doesn’t love her any more and is going to slit her throat! Except, no. Of course not. It’s all a scam and they just back into the elevator together.
But Sudheer Babu is all upset! He thinks Shraddha is in danger! So he grabs a fire hose and leaps through a window to make it down to the first floor ahead of the elevator. See! This is her one true love! Willing to risk his life when he thinks she is in danger! Really, I don’t know what she sees in Tiger.
But, despite his efforts, Sudheer doesn’t manage to rescue her. And, as the cab drives off, the henchgoons start shooting at it, just as the captive manages to open the back and sit up, and be shot a million times by his co-workers. And then his brother turns and immediately kills the henchgoon who shot the hostage. Now that’s funny!
The cab ends up at a dock and the cab drivers say good-bye and give their blessings, saying that they should always be together and in love, and also they have arranged for them to hide out at a resort that is run by another desi. Overseas desis are always so helpful to runaway couples! As they are about to get on the boat, Shraddha turns back and gives the big diamond necklace from Sudheer to them as a thank you, so they can go home to India. Awwww! On the other hand, how hurtful! Sudheer’s going to find out that she re-gifted his present!
And then they are on the boat, and maybe this is when we have the sad song? Anyway, some kind of a song. Just like the same song sequence in Varsham, and in Tezaab before that, and in Streets of Fire before that. Except on a boat this time! Instead of a bus, a car, or a train. I wonder what mode of transportation will be used in the next remake?
Boat song over, Shraddha is standing in a bra top and a see through T-shirt looking sad. Perhaps because she has no clothes? It starts to rain, and Tiger comes up behind her and puts his shirt around her shoulders. And she sees the ring! He stills loves her! Oh my goodness! So then they kiss. Because it is a “modern” movie. And we have a love song!
Which ends when all the hunchgoons suddenly show up. They start beating up Tiger (isn’t he supposed to be this awesome fighter? Where’d that go?) and grab Shraddha. Finally the grab tiger and the henchgoon who’s brother was killed wants to shoot him. But “Biju” stops him and says he should be the one to do it, because Tiger killed his wife. Really? Tiger killed his wife? That’s so mean!
So, Tiger is shot and falls off the side of a cliff into water. Just like Shahrukh in Koyla or Hrithik in Kites or any of those other slow motion death scenes. Or, rather, Death? scenes. Because of course he’s not dead!
Which we find out basically immediately, because we see him wake up shortly after he hits the water. And then flashback to show that he didn’t shoot Biju’s wife, he just fired his gun really really close to her head. And somehow that made Biju feel like he owed him something? I don’t get it. I mean, he “saved” the wife, but she was only in danger because of him in the first place! Whatever, it works out, he didn’t really shoot Tiger and now Tiger is alive.
Which Shraddha can sense, because it starts to rain. And somehow, now that she ran off with Tiger and is talking about him coming to rescue her, now Sudheer Babu doesn’t love her any more. But, why?!?! I was pulling for them! Come on now! Let Sita fall in love with Raavan, for once! Oh, by the way, there’s also lots of on the nose dialogue about Raavan and Ram and Sita, just in case the audience isn’t smart enough to figure it out.
And now we have the Raid bit. Tiger arrives at the highrise in Bangkok, where we know that she is being kept on the 10th floor. But floors 1 through 9 have fighters in training on them, and he has to fight his way up.
He zips through the first few floors, but then someone finally manages to hit the alarm, and the security cameras notice him, and an announcement goes out that anyone who kills him will get an award. So then he has to fight a bunch of people. Some of them have knives.
Shraddha is watching all of this, and runs out of the penthouse and down a few floors, where she has her own awesome fight scene. Which, interestingly, is filmed kind of similarly to the fight scene that was her introduction. Nice little circle moment, having her do for “real” what she was doing on film.
And then she breaks free, and finally reunites with Tiger! But they are interrupted by the henchgoon whose brother was killed. And, in case we forgot, we get a slowmotion flashback of him being riddled with bullets. It’s still funny.
So, fight-fight-fight-fight-fight. And, coup-de-grace. And clever line, “that’s the problem with stuff made in China. Always breaks.”
Tiger and Shraddha are together, but they can never escape from Sudheer! Tiger says “One of us has to die” and suggests that Shraddha leave. I thought for a moment that he meant one of him and Shraddha has to die, but I think he just means one of him and Sudheer but said it awkwardly. And I guess he doesn’t want Shraddha to have to watch or something?
Final fight! Sudheer beats him up a bunch, and throws Shraddha aside and knocks her out. He also sets something on fire, but it is just a tiny little fire in the background. Which didn’t make much sense to me, why put that in if it’s not going to be a big cinematic thing? But then it sets of the sprinklers, and it all makes sense.
(It’s like this, but makes slightly more sense)
Tiger does that thing where you think the hero is beaten, but then he learns something and dramatically gets a second wind. In this case, he learns that Sudheer killed Master. Of course, Shraddha is lying (laying?) in the corner knocked out for like 20 minutes, but that’s not enough to get him really angry. And to show his anger, he stands up and slowly rips his shirt off. I should try that the next time I am having an angry conversation with a customer service rep.
And then he kills Sudheer. By hitting him in pressure points as the camera makes the bones inside sort of glow so we can see them break and snap. And then Sudheer dies.
And we end with Shraddha and tiger walking into the kung fu school together, as she asks, “Are you ready?” He says “yes”, and then walks to the front of the classroom filled with students, touches the feet of the statue of Master, and then turns to start class, and End Credits!!! (so, were all the students just staring at a statue for the past 6 weeks while he was off in Bangkok?)
And now we should get the bit club song from the promos, but no! We just get a bloopers reel. Oh well, maybe in 2017 they will start including club songs in movies again.