Vidyut Jammwal’s latest action thriller, Sanak: Hope Under Siege, puts him against a terrorist group holding hostages in a hospital. The film is now available to stream on Disney+ Hotstar.
Sanak kicks off with an MMA trainer, Vivaan Ahuja (Jammwal), and his wife Anshika (Rukmini Maitra) coming to terms with the fact that the latter has a heart problem that requires an immediate and expensive surgery.
Vivaan takes it upon himself to arrange funds for the procedure by reluctantly selling their flat but fortunately, it is all worth it when the surgery goes well. Noticing how Anshika has recovered quite well, the doctors allow an elated Vivaan to take her home.
Unfortunately, as he goes into the basement to get his wallet from the car, the hospital is taken over by a group of terrorists. A hostage situation soon transpires and the police force is held at bay by terrorists who threaten to murder people if their demands aren’t met.
Vivaan finds himself to be the only person who can save his wife along with the other innocent people, so he decides to put his combat skill to use.
How he manages to confront them in an enclosed hospital environment forms the rest of the plot.
As an action thriller, Sanak, doesn’t really boast of any extraordinary acting performances. All characters are pretty substandard and fit the requirement of what the situation demands of them.
Vidyut Jammwal does what he’s best at and is an absolute beast when it comes to the action and combat part of the narrative. He uses different environments to his use spectacularly and manages to inject a dose of high standard martial arts into Indian cinema with this film.
All the supporting actors who are involved in the action with him shine as well. Sanak’s action choreography is something to be marvelled at and often reminds you of classic Jackie Chan fight sequences.
As far as his acting chops go, Jammwal is likeable but also generic. The plot often demands various emotions from him but that part doesn’t come across quite naturally to him. He’s at his best when he’s throwing kicks and punches.
Rukmini Maitra’s portrayal of the wife is pretty basic. She’s sitting in a corner for most of the film as a hostage so the film doesn’t really allow her to do much. Furthermore, Neha Dhupia’s ACP Jayanti Bhargav is also sidelined for the majority of the runtime. She steals the scene whenever she’s in one but there aren’t enough of them.
The main antagonist, Saju (Chandan Roy Sanyal), fits the perfect bad guy stereotype with his authoritative nature, maniacal dialog delivery, and ruthless aggression. He does his part for the narrative but fails to come across as a worthy final showdown.
Chandan Roy plays a hospital security guard, Riyaz Ahmed, who guides Vivaan through the complex blueprint of the hospital building. He’s a likeable presence and provides a much needed influx of subtle comedy with his part.
Sanak excels in its main agenda and that is to showcase top notch, benchmark setting action. The direction needs to be appreciated for letting the fight sequences breathe and allowing the performers to present their skills in the best way possible.
The fight choreography is versatile and fluid. The action moves from basements and corridors to swimming pools and various medical rooms but never loses its intensity.
Editing wise too, the film excels. It is often seen that relentless cuts ruin the flow of a scene but Sanak stays far away from that action film trope.
When it comes to the not-so-good parts of Sanak, unfortunately there are plenty. Starting with the story, it is highly predictable and often spends more time on needless aspects than its actual strength i.e. the action.
It quite frequently tries to emphasise the importance of the romantic relationship between the lead couple but does so quite unconvincingly. One really doesn’t care about these needless Bollywood-esque dramatic pauses which are sprinkled all over the plot.
You can tell that the VFX isn’t top notch maybe owing to the not-so-high budget of the film. The muzzle flashes on the guns are blatantly bad and look like meagre sparks without any sufficient recoil or smoke to the weapon.
There are also a lot of liberties taken to move the story forward. For example, the ACP’s daughter is rigged with a bomb vest which is disabled by a child who is shown to be an expert in these things just by being an avid FPS gamer.
On the contrary, there is a recurring situation in which Vivaan’s heart rate is shown to increase due to various triggers and he takes some sort of sachets to counter it. Never through the duration of the movies is it explained what he suffers from and how he tackles it.
Scenes like these really test the suspending belief part of audiences when it comes to watching films.
Sanak is a must watch for action lovers and especially Vidyut Jammwal fans. However, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea as there is a lot of extra drag to the narrative which the film could have done without.