Rating: *** ½

There is something to be said about a film’s pacing when it is relentlessly racing against time. Yodha, as co-directed by Sagar Ambre and Pushkar Ojha(just how do two directors work together is a mystery waiting to be solved) is a wildly improbable but nonetheless insanely entertaining cliffhanger .

This is pulp fiction on celluloid: you know the kind of novels that Alistair McLean and James Hadley Chase wrote in the 1970s, with so many twists and turns that the readers’ heads spun out of control. Which is what the screenplay of Yodha constantly threatens to do. It chases down the most unlikely plotting devises and before we can swallow one, the narrative moves hurriedly to another oh-we-didn’t-see that coming corkscrew twist.

Siddharth Malhotra stands tall at the centre of the gravity-defying plot. He seems convinced about the plausibility of the proceedings and infuses the meticulously designed action pieces with credible blood and sweat. He is certainly more paisa vasool here in his save-the-country mission than he was in Indian Police Force.

This could be deemed a one-man show were it not for the fact that some of the supporting cast is plonked into the jukebox-styled stunt interludes with a flippancy that seems like arrogant writing but is actually the onscreen version of a smart little boy trying to cook up nice breakfast for his mother on Mother’s Day.

The co-directors spare no effort to keep the storytelling as viewer-friendly as possible. Some of the more overt contrivances such as Malhotra’s wife(Raashii Khanna) officially ground-monitoring his midair adventures, make the world look smaller than it actually is.

As for the dishy Disha Patani, she is the sexiest airhostess in the sky , who displays some surprising hidden skills mid-flight. Disha in her Mara Hari avatar is a hoot.

By the way, an airhostess is not allowed to keep her hair open even when she is played by Ms Patani. But no need for anyone to be offended by the abundant absurdities that populate the plot: this is not a serious political drama on terrorism, like, say Article 370 .

Yodha is whole lot of fun. The violence is never unbearable. Rather, it is all done in the spirit of a comicbook. There are some heartstopping fights including one in an airplane toilet. We always knew midair lovemaking was facilitated in closed spaces. But this is the first for a ferocious fight.

The loo in the air will never be the same again.

While the first 20 minutes of playing time serve as a decent appetizer, the actual action-drama kicks in after about 30 minutes. This is when the film’s editor Jishnu Bhattacharjee begins to have fun with the innocuous mayhem in the plot. The shots trimmed to a terse and tactile condition, the focus being not so much on coherence as celerity.

So if you are looking for a breakneck paced weekend popcorn flick, this is it. But don’t bother with the popcorn. It will be forgotten as you gaze at the stunt spree open-mouthed.