It’s heartening to know that the nearly half a century after Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, the Hollywood crime drama continues to inspire Hindi filmmakers. Mahesh Manjrekar’s The Power borrows most of its plot points from Coppola’s inter-generational drama, but throws in an extra angle to distinguish itself – a feud between lovers.
Devi (Vidyut Jammwal) and Parveen (Shruti Haasan) are the verge of converting romantic banter into wedding vows. Devi is this movie’s Michael Corleone – he is all set for a career as a chef in Singapore, far from the underworld over which his father Kalidas (Mahesh Manjrekar) rules.
A series of unfortunate events not only causes a bloody rift between Devi and Parveen but also leads to a gang war. A pair of rivals (Chetan Hansraj and Samir Dharmadhikari) is being egged on by Bishambar (Sachin Khedekar), who claims to be Kalidas’s friend but is actually plotting to bring him down.
More dastardliness is afoot in Kalidas’s household, led by Shaila (Yuvika Chaudhary), the shrewish wife of Kalidas’s eldest son Ram (Jisshu Sengupta), and the openly crooked Ranjit (Prateik), who is married to Kalidas’s daughter.
Parveen swears to finish off Devi and his clan but takes the entire movie to move from threat to action. Meanwhile, Bishambar keeps reducing Kalidas’s ranks, even nearly killing the old man. Why Devi, who is described as a brain with brawn, doesn’t just put a bullet into Bishambar’s scheming skull is one of this movie’s great mysteries.
For all their supposed preeminence in the underworld, Kalidas and Company prove to be severely ill-equipped to deal with their enemies. Or perhaps this is merely a ploy to stretch out events for 143 minutes. Either way, The Power is a slog, staggering from one grisly death to another and pausing only to marvel at Vidyut Jammwal’s eye-popping stunts in slow motion.
Various extras line up for a single scene and a day’s wages, only to be dispatched in brutal fashion. Our heart goes out to the character who delivers a profane speech and then finds his head pulped like a tomato, all in a matter of minutes.
The dated material – the movie is even set in the pre-cellphone age – includes a retread of one of the best scenes in The Godfather, the one in which Vito Corleone learns to his dismay that his beloved Michael, from whom he had high hopes, has enrolled in the Mafia. What Vito Corleone did not know is that the latest Indian iteration of Michael Corleone can take good care of himself. He can glide through the air to head-butt an adversary or sail out of the water with bullets in his belly.
That’s another way in which The Power is different from The Godfather. The source material didn’t have a hero skilled in martial arts.