‘Ruslaan’ : This Formulaic Actioner Relies Heavily on Style over Substance

By Ronak Kotecha

Synopsis: Ruslaan (Aayush Sharma) is determined to prove he’s not defined by his father’s reputation as a terrorist. To clear his name, he wants a permanent role in India’s elite intelligence agency, RAW. However, his intense urge to do the right thing often leads him into situations that are more complex and dangerous than he expects.

 For a child who has seen his entire family being wiped out in a bloody encounter, Ruslaan grows up to be a pretty sorted man. His adoption by an upright police officer Major Sameer (Jagapathi Babu) and his doting wife has a lot to do with his changed fortunes. But his only mission in life is to serve his country at any cost and eventually clear his name too. Even if it means defying the orders of his immediate superior and RAW agent Mantra (Vidya Malvade) on crucial assignments and single-handedly going after the most dangerous terrorists.

Director Karan L Butani’s primary focus here seems to be highlighting the heroics of his leading man, no matter what. Right from his entry scene till the climax, the film’s screenplay is dedicated to idolise and eulogise Ruslaan as the man who can defy all odds. The film’s story (written by Yunus Sajawal, Mohit Srivastava, Kavin Dave) is packed with stylised action and twists, which aren’t exactly predictable but preposterous for sure. This gives enough room and reason to throw in dollops of well-choreographed action and stunts (by Vikram Dahiya and Dinesh Subbarayan). The suspense is built up right from the start and carried on tightly till the climax but the big reveal in the end doesn’t quite add up.

Aayush Sharma does well in action but lacks enough conviction in emotional scenes. He struggles to convey the depth of Ruslaan’s internal conflict, which makes it difficult for the audience to fully connect with his character’s personal journey. Debutant Sushrii Shreya Mishraa, who plays his love interest Vani also gets her moment in the sun when it comes to doing some intense action. The screenplay maintains a steady rhythm, barring a couple of unwanted songs in between. There are quite a few thrilling sequences distributed across the two halves. However, the lack of depth and sheer simplicity in the way Ruslaan and his accomplice manage to infiltrate and survive the most diabolical situations is unbelievable. Jagapathi Babu is well-cast as a righteous police officer, who’s also a loving father for a terrorist’s orphaned son. However, what’s missing is the required conviction in the writing. Also, the character development could have been more robust. Additionally, the film leans heavily into patriotic overtones, which, while adding a certain level of emotional resonance, sometimes comes across as contrived or overly simplistic. G. Sreenivas Reddy’s cinematography is slick.

Overall, ‘Ruslaan’ focuses heavily on pandering to the masses with a relentless dose of action and thrill but not much logic. It’s a formulaic actioner that is entertaining in parts if you prefer adrenaline over intricate plots. — Times of India