‘Nikamma’ Abhimanyu vs evil Abhimanyu in another remake of Telugu film

Save for action and popular villain Abhimanyu Singh, the trailer of Nikamma, the Hindi remake of Telugu film Middle Class Abbayi [2017], doesn’t look promising at all.

Abhimanyu Singh (l) and Abhimanyu Dassani (R) in a still from Nikamma [2022]

By Mayur Lookhar

Well, don’t go by the above image as the two actors will be squaring off against each other in their upcoming action comedy. Titled Nikamma [2022], the Sabbir Khan directorial is the Hindi remake of Telugu film Middle Class Abbayi [2017]. The Telugu words translate to Middle Class boy.

We haven’t seen the original which had Nani, Sai Pallavi and Bhumika Chawla in the leading roles. The Dil Raju production is being remade into Hindi as Nikamma (useless) by Sony Pictures International Productions. After watching the tacky Hindi trailer, we’re not really tempted to even watch the original.

Much like the original, [written and directed by Venu Sriram], the Hindi remake follows the journey of a jobless, useless protagonist Adi [Dassani] who thrives in being a nikamma. So reminiscent of campy dramas of the 80s and 90s. Yet he easily finds love in (presumably) a college girl [Shirley Setia], but his life turns upside down when he is sent to (probably) his aunt’s place. It is here that Shilpa Shetty comes in, and the man soon discovers the hardships of life. The twist in the story happens when Shetty’s character is threatened by a local gangster [played by Abhimanyu Singh]. Nikamma he may be, but the brawny Adi will do anything to safeguard his dear ones.

If this story excites you then you are likely to throng to the theatres to watch Nikamma. Sadly, for the sane nikamma in us, it doesn’t build much excitement. A cliched story with the trailer coming across as another over-the-top action comedy drama. There are just a couple of things that intrigue us. First is the action by action hero Dassani, while the other being the menacing talent of Abhimanyu Singh. Vijay Varma had starred in the Telugu film. Wonder whether there was a case to have him in the Hindi remake? Nevertheless, Abhimanyu Singh is a more intimidating figure than Varma. In essence, this action comedy is a ‘nikamma’ Abhimanyu vs evil Abhimanyu battle.

Everything else about the trailer disappoints us. Not that there were great expectations, but just the shallow nature of the story, and the monotonous tropes make us worry for Nikamma, Even though it flopped, but Dassani was much praised for his debut film Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota [2018]. Mind you, that film tanking had more to do with the dispute between producers and exhibitors then. Vasan Bala’s film and Dassani came across as a breath of fresh air then. However, here in Nikamma, Dassani looks uncomfortable with the campy dialogues. Needless to say that the film will use (remake) the Nikamma Kiya Is Dil Ne’ track from Kyaa Dil Ne Kaha [2022].

Hey this is just a trailer, why are we dissecting the film now? Fair argument but based on what we’ve seen in the trailer, it doesn’t hold much promise for the film.

Abhimanyu Dassani (L), Shirley Setia (R) in a still from Nikamma [2022]

Dassani and Shirley have a love at first sight story with the girl proposing the guy straight away. How can any writer [Khan and Sanamjit Singh Talwar] have a boy reply to a girl, “Are you alcoholic or drug addict” when the latter proposes marriage. And the follow up dialogue by the girl comes out as, “sshhh love addict”. Clearly, the Central Board of Film Certification [CBFC] will be happy to flash anti alcoholism, anti drug disclaimer. The amateurish dialogue delivery and expressions by both are cringeworthy. Poor audience must be feeling like a schmuck already.

The Daman-born New Zealand citizen [Setia] is attractive but beyond that there is nothing that impressed us about her in this trailer. She had made her film debut with the little known Netflix film called Maska [2020].

Shilpa Shetty in a still from Nikamma [2022]

Forlorn Shilpa Shetty must be simply pleased to bag another film in her long career. Shetty had made a disastrous return with Hungama 2 last year. The superwoman reference in Nikamma might amuse some kids, but it’s hard to buy into this kind of representation.

Sabbir Khan has produced couple of hits – Heropanti [2014], Baaghi [2016], but the rest of his work are classic duds. We fear Nikamma might go that way. Save for action, Nikamma doesn’t promise much novel experience for the audience. We will be more than happy to eat humble pie if this film makes it big at the box-office.

Nikamma [2022] is set to be released in theatres on 17 June. Watch the trailer below.


One comment

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