In Rashtra Kavach Om, the bar is low, the tolerance for absurdity high and the need for divine intervention increases with every passing minute.

Kapil Verma’s film (previously titled Om – The Battle Within) is the equivalent of an unpleasant bender, the kind that results in memory holes the morning after. That’s also the state of paramilitary commando Om (Aditya Roy Kapur), who has a Jason Bourne moment during an operation to locate a missing nuclear defence shield. The only thing Om’s sieve-like brain retains is flashes of his father Dev (Jackie Shroff) being killed by a pair of baddies.

However, to the Research and Analysis Wing, Dev is a villain since he has allegedly stolen the defence shield. Dev’s most loyal advocate is his brother Jai (Ashutosh Rana). Jai has brought up Om like his own son but has somehow managed to conceal this crucial piece of information from his boss Murthy (Prakash Raj).

Om recovers in time to strap on the armour and locate the defence shield, which resembles a very big soap bubble. Aided by Kavya (Sanjana Sanghi), Rohit (Vicky Arora) and Arsalaan (Rohit Chaudhary), Om travels to Armenia to confront Dev.

Sanjana Sanghi in Rashtra Kavach Om. Courtesy Paper Doll Entertainment/Zee Studios.

“Nothing can come between me and my kavach,” Dev declares – just one of the prize lines from the screenplay by Raj Saluja and Niket Pandey. The writers appear to have abandoned any attempt at narrative logic or even basic engagement early on, opting instead for a comedy in the guise of an action thriller. Director Kapil Verma is presumably in on the joke. What else explains the use of “mammary” in a conversation about memory?

There’s a misty-eyed mother too (Prachee Shah Pandya), who gets more affection from Om than he bestows upon Kavya. Apart from proving that women too are capable of combat, Sanjana Sanghi’s Kavya has little to do in the 135-minute film.

She has the newly buffed-up Aditya Roy Kapur for company. Despite being handed an array of mean-looking weaponry and the mandatory bare-chested scene, Kapur’s Om is most alive when he’s yelling the battle cry “Jai Bhavani!” with the fervour of a Shiv Sainik.

Rashtra Kavach Om (2022).