Heropanti 2 (or is it Baaghi 4?) opens with alarming visuals of Tiger Shroff in workplace casuals and spectacles. Surely the Invincible Dancing Martial Arts Boy Wonder hasn’t settled for a boring day job?

Fear not. Shroff’s Babloo, first introduced in Heropanti in 2014, is back, in a manner of speaking. This new Babloo has the same name but a different girlfriend, played by Tara Sutaria with stamping feet and tossed hair. Babloo is a genius hacker who has gone underground to prevent the nefarious crook Laila (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) from breaking into every single Indian bank account.

Just take it, we want to say. Better to give it you than this usurious government. But Laila is venal not for his tendency to stab people to death or hypnotise them into killing themselves. The rouged villain plays to every homophobic and transphobic bone in the body. Nawazuddin Siddiqui flops the wrist and blows air kisses in the direction of available males, deploying his staggering talent for an unbearable role.

The plot is as spare as Laila’s antics are theatrical. If producer Sajid Nadiadwala, who is credited with the story, director Ahmed Khan and writer Rajat Arora intended to deliver an action comedy, they might have had more scenes of the kind in which Babloo takes a bullet in his posterior and then, after its removal, repairs to the nearest available dance party to recover.

Alas, Babloo has a mother (Amrita Singh) and a conscience that compels him to serve the country and rid it of the likes of Laila. The storytelling is fittingly mechanical in a film that involves visual effects and wirework-aided stunts and has a magician whose repertoire includes virtual reality. The entire film, despite being shot partly in the United Kingdom, appears to have been made with spare change. What else explains poor Tara Sutaria’s wardrobe, which is designed to let the breeze in?

The cheesy dialogue that leavens Tiger Shroff’s films in between watching him scissor through the air in slow motion is in woefully low supply. Nobody in the production has been paying attention to Inaaya, who declares that her life moves at the speed of 1,000 mbps and that she has no time to buffer and waste. But Heropanti 2 does – 142 minutes, no less.

Heropanti 2 (2022).