Few minutes into the 2022 movie ‘The Ghost’ and it was already difficult to watch cradle-snatcher Nagarjuna Akkineni romance his almost 30-year junior Sonal Chauhan. The film starts with the two of them killing a bunch of terrorists, then smooching, followed by a song where they are lounging on a yacht, hugging in front of camels, squabbling at a convenience store. All this chaos in just the first five minutes. For a lead action hero, Nagarjuna looked tired, washed out and in need of rest. But director and writer Praveen Sattaru wants viewers to believe the 63-year-old actor is a one-man army, who strikes fear in the hearts of his opponents.

Nagarjuna is Vikram, a former Interpol officer, whose childhood friend Anupama (Gul Panag) tasks him with protecting her teen brat daughter after receiving death threats. ‘Vikram’ was an unfortunate choice of name for the protagonist because you immediately compare it to Kamal Haasan’s Vikram, which looks like an Oscar contender against ‘The Ghost’. Anikha Surendran plays Aditi Nair, the teen in need of protection. She is obnoxious – Aditi never goes to school on time, skips breakfast to eat burgers, cuts classes to go to the spa, sneaks out in the night to go clubbing and engage in underage drinking. To discipline her, Vikram uses a taser on her whenever she acts out, which was just bizarre. But the writers think it’s ‘comedy’.

Nothing about this film was interesting, neither the characters, nor the action, or the family politics the plot hinges upon. To make Vikram seem interesting, the writers give him some baggage – he is a child survivor of a violent riot and suffers from PTSD. Though it seems the director did his research on mental disorders, because this seemingly troubled guy was untroubled to make out with his girlfriend surrounded by a bunch of guys they had killed. Well, that’s thorough research. Yes, definitely.

Like dudes, if you want to make a masala no-brainer entertainer, go all out, don’t confuse yourself and try to be woke. What a confusing, cringe-worthy mess. It’s a 2/10 from me. You can stream it on Netflix if you are a die-hard Nagarjuna fan.

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