No industry kid should have to bear the weight of the family’s overbearing expectations, the way Utkarsh Sharma has to do in Genius, directed his father Anil Sharma. Left to himself, he might have debuted, if he was lucky, with a harmless little love story. But here he has to romance, dance, fight, rage, growl, do some comedy, spout deshbhakti and act like a cut price Sunny Deol, which is not the right fit for him at all.
Vasudev Shastri (Utkarsh Sharma) grew up in Mathura, so his greeting of choice is ‘Radhe Radhe’. He tops the entrance exam for IIT, for which the runner up, Nandini (Ishita Chauhan) snubs his friendly (read stalkerish) overtures. But how can she not fall for a guy, who knows his science as well as his shastras? For a gift, he gives her contact lenses and earrings with trackers, so that he can see and hear what she does! Because he can also defeat international hackers and jam traffic signals, RAW hires him, and, when he emerges from a shootout with a limp and crippling tinnitus (so that he can act out torment), also dismisses him.
Never mind, says Vasu, they can’t prevent him from fighting for his country, so he goes after the villain MSR (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), an ISI agent, who wants to plant bombs (what else!) and blow up temples in Mathura, because in the past a “kaalia” cop (Mithun Chakraborty) gave him grief for killing his parents. What else can Vasu do but stop him single-handed?
The film is ludicrous, and since both Vasu and MSR call themselves ‘genius’ (mostly pronounced gin-ee-yus by various characters) — the latter also calls himself “handsome” — you look for some brain or brawn on the screen, and find both severely lacking. There is plenty of flag-waving though, because Sharma had made Gadar (plus Elan-e-Jun, Tahalka and Farishtey) before patriotism had become the flavour of the season.