Director: Ashish R Mohan

Cast: Akshay kumar, Asin Thottumkal, Rahul Singh, Mithun Chakraborty, Paresh Rawal, Raj Babbar

b! Says: ** & 1/2

Akshay Kumar marks his comeback to the ‘Khiladi’ franchise with an out-and-out entertainer, that feels like familiar territory. If toilet humour, catchy tunes and flashy outfits is what the film had promised in the promos, then this is exactly what it delivers, though the lack of originality does bog it down.

Bahatar '72' Singh aka Akshay Kumar is a Punjab da pehalwan, who nabs smugglers at the border for the Punjab police with his bauji Satar '70' Singh (Raj Babbar) and uncle Ikhatar '71' Singh (Mukesh Rishi) . His dodgy job makes it hard for his family to get him hitched and this leaves him sad and dejected. Meanwhile miles away in Mumbai, Tatya Tukaram Tendulkar (T.T.T), a don played by Mithun Chakroborthy, is also unable to find a suitable match from a good family for his sister Indu (Asin). North meets west when Mansukh (Himesh Reshmmiya), a match-maker, decides to hook up the two.

To say that the film does not entertain would be a lie. The slapstick comedy scenes ensure that the audiences are in splits. Akshay's international khaandan that include a Canadian mother, Chinese bhabhi and an African beeji is a riot. Akshay looks at ease while playing a Chulbul Pandey-like role, complete with a police uniform and Ray Ban shades. You might even need to use the accelerator of your brain a little more than is usually required in a masala potboiler, to spot nods to blockbusters of this genre in the movie. A don looking for a groom for his sister is straight out of ‘Welcome’, while Mithun’s role looks like an extension of his character from ‘Housefull 2’.

Akshay gets a hoot and a whistle from us for his performance as a Punjabi munda, a role he could enact even in his sleep now. His 100-watt smile and powerful punches (again very 'Dabangg' like) make him the perfect popcorn entertainer hero. However, getting used to his pink and red kurtas was a bit of a task and his porcupine-like, golden jootis made us want to report him to the fashion police immediately.

Asin, on the other hand, hardly left a good impression. Her scornful expressions were reflected in disgusted ones from the audience. She seemed to have lost the act as an actress (having been just a prop to so many actors in 100 crore films) and it felt like the only thing given importance was her look (though her hairstyle seemed ripped off from Deepika Padukone's in ‘Cocktail’).  Mithun da's performance lights up the screen but his character is hardly worth mention otherwise. It's hard to believe, but Himesh Reshammiya, who not only acted in the movie, but also sung songs, composed music and wrote the story of the film, was actually quite pleasant to watch. Songs like 'Hookah Bar' and ‘Long Drive’ are sure to keep the dance floor busy in year-end parties.

Even though the lines on Akshay's palms form a 786 and lend the movie its title, the fact is hardly made mention of through the film. But then, we blame ourselves for looking for reason in an Akshay Kumar movie. The lack of novelty is however unpardonable and we take off two whole points for the fact that everything, from the plot to the action scenes to the look of the characters, is borrowed from other films and the duplicity leaves us wounded.

If you're done decoding 'Talaash', go watch ‘Khiladi 786’. Despite all its flaws, it's a brainless film that entertains.