Free Press Journal

Movie Review: Hero – Redundant Redux

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Cast: Sooraj Pancholi, Athiya Shetty, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Sharad Kelkar, Aditya Pancholi, Vivaan Bhatena , Chetan Hansraj, Suresh Menon

Director: Nikhil Advani

Rating: * * ½


Runtime:145 mins

Nikhil Advani’s overly ambitious fresh-blooded redux of Subhash Ghai’s memorable musical hit from circa 1983 (starring Jackie Shroff and Meenakshi Sheshadri) has style and modern trappings on it’s side..but the rest is warped and ridiculous just as big budgeted Hindi films are wont to be.

Co-written by Umesh Bisht and Nikhil Advani who also helms it, this official remake, made with Subhash Ghai’s blessing and full cooperation under the benevolent indulgence of Salman Khan and Eros International , has all the coveted trappings of a show boat launch for it’s two main leads – Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab’s son Sooraj Pancholi and Suneil and Mana Shetty’s daughter Athiya Shetty. While the former has been controversy’s favorite child because of his ill-fated dalliance with Jiah Khan, the latter has had little exposure and therefore comes into the film as an unwritten page.

 The film opens with some interesting aerial shots of Mumbai, the main setting for the story that has the Mumbai CP (Tigmanshu Dhulia)’s family at the center of it all. His daughter, Radha (Athiya, long-legged bony enchantress) is all set to go to Paris for some Jazz-Ballet training stint but in the meantime she has to make do with a posse of  ungainly policemen as escort/protectors following a potential threat from Pasha (Aditya Pancholi) – who the CP has incarcerated. The incorruptible Commissioner of Police gets Pasha’s goat, enough to have Pasha assign Sooraj, his punch-hitting ‘goonda’ baba, to kidnap the beauteous lass, hoping to bring the CP to his knees. Does it work? Well the Goonda badmash and the pretty Pollyana get in close quarters and promptly fall in love and from thereon everything goes haywire.

The story is old hat and quite ancient to boot. So when presented with modern, stylised trappings and without the passion and melody of yore, it just falls flat. As a debut vehicle for star children, this one is a swank, glossy one. But on an intellectual level there’s nothing credible going on. So largely, looks and facetious action is all we have to go on. The characters appear like card-board cut-outs and their perceived motivations lack gravity. The presentation of the two young wannabe stars is quite redolent. Tushar Kanti Ray’s  camerawork does wonders for both the young stars and even makes the milieu and the set-up look fantastic.

Sooraj’s chisel-cut posturing and finely orchestrated action stunts make him out to be another action hero in the making. On the emotional front though, he just looks vague and out of place. Athiya is tall, pretty and waif thin, so modeling on the cat-walk would have been ideal for her. Her photogenic looks are captured quite lovingly so it’s not so much a chore watching her glide through the motions of falling in love with a hopelessly unsuitable rebel and that too without much of a pause. The supporting cast are the ones that shore up this enterprise-including Vivaan Bhatena who has to make do with an impromptu insertion and garrulous turbulence to mark his slimy presence in the scheme of things. In broad terms, this film has the antiquated charm of a dated Bollywood musical but it’s modernist musings leaves little affect on the heart and the senses. At best it’s just a prettified extravagance trying hard to engage – without much success!

Johnson Thomas