It is common practice for actors and filmmakers to make films to launch their children as actors. While some like Sunil Dutt and Rakesh Roshan have managed to do it successfully, there are people like Harry Baweja, Suneel Darshan who, despite pumping in crores of rupees for their children, could not help in carving out successful careers for their children. Anil Sharma, best known for making the blockbuster ‘Gadar’, had last tasted success with his 2007 release ‘Apne’. Putting the failure of his last two films ‘Veer’ and ‘Singh Saab The Great’ behind him, he is back with a film titled ‘Genius’ that also serves as the launch pad for his son Utkarsh.
Vasudev Shastri (Utkarsh Sharma) is an orphan from Mathura who has a super-intelligent mind. Vasudev gets admission in IIT, Roorkee and ends up falling in love with Nandini (Ishita Chauhan). The officials at RAW get to know about the extra-ordinary intelligence he possesses and offer him to join RAW. During a particular operation, Vasudev comes face-to-face with MRS (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a criminal mastermind who claims to be a super-intelligent person and a genius just like Vasudev. The altercation with MRS leaves Vasudev paralysed and also renders him with a problem in his ear. RAW does not find Vasudev fit enough to be a part of their team anymore but Vasudev is determined to find MRS and foil his plans of destruction on his own.
Anil Sharma’s last two films might not have worked at the box-office but those were decent films, if we take the aesthetics into account. You might find flaws in the screenplay of those films but as a director, Sharma did quite a competent job. After you finish watching ‘Genius’, you wonder whether he has forgotten the basics of filmmaking. A screenplay which is devoid of any logic, tacky VFX, cringe-worthy dialogues, poor camerawork, a hero who cannot act – the film is a masterclass on what not to do when you set out to make a film.
What do you say about a film in which Nawazuddin Siddiqui is not even bothered to ensure that the lines he is rendering during the dubbing process are in sync with his lip movements on the screen? It seems the sound designer/recordist was sleeping when the actor was dubbing his lines. The film has no dearth of scenes which set new benchmarks in juvenilia. You see Vasudev limping and struggling to walk and suddenly, you see him riding a cycle at a very high speed and crashing right in front of a minister’s vehicle, so that he could put the tricolour in in the right position. In another sequence, we see Vasudev writing “rank mein kya rakha hai? jeevan ka asli aadhar toh prem hai” to give Nandini, the girl he is in love with, the chance to top the examination and make her realise that her love is more important to him than doing well in exams.
‘Genius’ is full of several such scenes that make you roll your eyes in disbelief. It is baffling to see three writers (Anil Sharma, Sunil Survaiya and Amjad Ali) getting together and agreeing upon such a nonsensical script. The dialogues are equally bad. A couple of songs by Himesh Reshammiya are the only bright spot in the film. But, even the choreographers (Rekha Chinni Prakash, Adil Ahmed and Sabina Khan) leave no stone unturned to butcher the song. The dance moves in all the songs are hilarious. The camerawork (Najeeb Khan) looks tacky by even Indian television standards.
It is saddening to see filmmakers like Anil Sharma, who have delivered entertaining commercial cinema at one point of time, so out of sync with today’s times. To put it mildly, ‘Genius’ is a blot on his filmography.