‘Hero’ – lead pair impresses with heroic performances (IANS Rating – **1/2)

Film: “Hero”; Cast: Sooraj Pancholi, Athiya Shetty, Aditya Pancholi, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Sharad Kelkar and Vivan Bhatena, Director: Nikhil Advani; Rating: **1/2

“If you want this love story to work, then buy yourself some time,” warns a concerned brother to his distraught sister half-way through the film.

This warning is probably meant for the audience too, who by now seem to be restlessly squirming in their seats.

With the premise that is spelt through the dialogue, “Ek goonda, kya ek IG ki beti se pyaar kar sakta hai kya”, You expect the plot, which is a remake of Subhash Ghai’s superhit film of the same name, to be gripping.

But director Nikhil Advani’s version, is a far cry from the original.

While I usually do not compare films, this one is an exception owing to its pedigree.

If it was the music and songs that made Subhash Ghai’s 1983 film “Hero”, a superhit and a runaway success, it is the performance by the lead cast that makes Nikhil Advani’s film bearable.

Sooraj Pancholi plays the mobster with a strong character, Sooraj Kaushik who is indebted to his godfather Pasha, whom he lovingly calls “Baba”. And Athiya Shetty plays Radha, the Inspector General of Police, Shrikant Mathur’s daughter who is in love with Sooraj.

While their onscreen chemistry is perfunctory, they seem earnest and promising. They make a sincerely charming and self-assured pair. With a well-chiselled physique, Sooraj appears to be a bit reticent and camera shy, whereas Athiya, is poised and confidence personified.

While Sooraj slips into the skin of his character with ease, Athiya with her cocky dialogues seems incongruent with the character she portrays, and the fault lies with the director.

Tigmanshu Dhulia as the fraught with problems, Inspector General of Police, delivers as best he could, but seems grossly misfit in the ensemble. Aditya Pancholi with his bearded look, lacks the aura of the underworld king pin Pasha. His deadpan dialogue delivery does not make him menacing at all.

Sharad Kelkar portrays the IG’s son Dheeraj with aplomb. His is a perfectly conventional character of a loving son and concerned older brother who plots to keep his sister happy. Anita Hassanandani as his wife is wasted.

Vivan Bhatena as the antagonist Prince Rannvijay Shekhawat, makes his presence felt in a small, but well-defined and executed role. His impish, wicked demeanour grows gradually till it explodes during the action scenes in the climax.

The fight as well as the dance sequences are well-choreographed. And the background score is perfectly synchronised with the visuals in terms of beat and tempo. But unfortunately, the songs don’t match the simplicity and finesse of the original and they lack the encore factor.

Also the direction, with scant regard to detailing, is careless and without conviction. Thus, making the entire viewing experience a silly proposition.

With excellent production values, Advani’s film, though technically advanced, is poorly executed in terms of writing. The characters, without much thought given into their back-stories, are shallow and underdeveloped. And the screenplay is ridiculously flawed and confusing at times. While most of the scenes are superbly dramatic, they unfortunately do not create an emotional impact.

Overall, this “Hero” is a below mediocre fare except for the lead pair’s straight-forward performances.

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