Film: Bhavesh Joshi Superhero
Cast: Priyanshu Painyuli, Harshvardhan Kapoor, Ashish Verma, Rajiv Kachru, Nishikant Kamat, Shibani Dandekar, Ramesh Bhatkar
Director: Vikramaditya Motwane
Rating: * * *
Vikramaditya Motwane’s third effort, Bhavesh Joshi Superhero, attempts to present a brand of people’s justice in the face of the corruption associated with politics and state institutions. As the title alludes, it’s an Indianised companion to the dark and edgy DC universe that Hollywood has been mining so successfully across decades.
The villain here is a corporator (Nishikant Kamat) who runs an underworld water mafia with support from the PWD and the Police. Pitted against that evil force are three friends, Bhavesh (Priyanshu Painyuli), Sikandar (Harshvardhan Kapoor)and Rajit (Ashish Verma) who begin their young adult rebellion on an idealistic primer (simultaneous to India Against Corruption movement), eventually losing steam when real life brings them to ground. Bhavesh though still has the keeda within him and makes a solo effort only to pay a heavy price. Sikandar, fuelled by guilt and remorse, sets out to gain redemption, but will his solo effort (even though supported by caring friends) bring him the ambitious resolution he is seeking?
The narrative basically glorifies the vigilante effort, trying to deploy violence as a justified tool to curb corruption. It’s a reflection of society today, but it’s not represented cleverly or strongly enough to garner affect. The film should have essentially destroyed the hazy distinction between violent crime and corruption. But the writing credited to Motwane and Phantom collaborator Anurag Kashyap fails to sharpen the angst or justify the action thereof. The half-hearted socialistic allusion to cause and effect dislodges interest. As a result, the narrative fails to work up the fury required to be hard-hitting or intense.
Hashvardhan Kapoor as the phantom justice provider is the weakest link here. Though the actor is sincere his effort lacks the kind of energy and conviction this role required. The forged graphic novel appendage doesn’t make it cool or happening either. The narrative lists towards a seriousness that doesn’t work up enough steam for a justification. The influences are obvious, but the linkages are largely wobbly. But for the ably dark camerawork, assuredly complementary background score and poignant performances of Priyanshu Painyuli and Ashish Verma, this would have been a largely listless effort.