Direction: Nikhil Advani
Cast: Sooraj Pancholi, Athiya Shetty, Aditya Pancholi, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Sharad Kelkar, Vivaan Bhatena
Such a gorgeous face. Such athleticism. What a bore. If these are the sentiments that the makers want the audiences to leave with, then they have succeeded in this remake of Subhash Ghai’s hit 1983 film. That film gave us Jackie Shroff aka Jackie Dada, the star from the streets of Mumbai. The contemporary version introduces Sooraj Pancholi, who plays Sooraj, a heavily tattooed bad boy with the heart of Robin Hood, great physique and fighting skills. He can also do nifty moves with laser lights and handstands on nails among other things. There is nothing ruffian or grungy about this new Sooraj, which is key to the love story that subsequently develops. Radha (Athiya Shetty), here is daddy’s dearest who takes selfies and is supposed to be an Indian classical dancer who for some inexplicable reason wants to go to Paris for training. She is made more annoying than innocently charming. Sooraj conducts perhaps the fastest kidnap in Bollywood history by taking Radha from Mumbai to Jammu. She thinks he and his boys are protecting her on her father’s orders. This naivete may have been appealing two decades ago but in this day and age it just seems bonkers. Extreme close-ups of the two show that the two are falling in love. The kidnapper may have won his victim’s heart, but for Sooraj to be in the good books of Radha’s father, Inspector General Mathur (Tigmanshu Dhulia), he first has to become a good boy. Love,
The story is as formulaic as it gets but at least Ghai’s Hero gave its leading debutants the opportunity to impress viewers with their screen presence and chemistry, and showcase their talent. Hero is made less with the purpose of demonstrating the acting capabilities of the newcomers and more with the intention of presenting their physical attributes. Sadly, Pancholi and Shetty here are nothing more than a well-built young man and a pretty face respectively, with Shetty especially reduced to reciting some unintentionally hilarious lines such as “Thank you for your help, you dork-faced muppet”. This is the writer’s way of reminding viewers that the film is set in 2015.