MUMBAI — This remake of the 1983 “Hero” sparks questions galore. Here are the main ones:
1) Why did Subhash Ghai allow a remake of his cult film? Why was he not once bitten twice shy after “Karz?” And that remake, in comparison only, was so much better.
2) Why did Salman Khan ever think of making this film?
3) Why was Nikhil Advani, who has made only poor films except “D-Day” that flopped, assigned the responsibility? No, I have not forgotten “Kal Ho Naa Ho,” but that was too Karan Johar-ish (its writer and co-producer), so it does not count.
4) When you remake a cult musical, you must at least ensure good, if not comparable, music. Why did Khan, Ghai and company (T-Series) stuff the film with musical pygmies and their assorted work that is not a patch even on 2015’s decent music? Not a single song remains in memory as you exit the theater, except for the hook of “Ke Main Hoon Hero” — which, needless to crib, is just a hook, not the song!
5) What made them build such a silly script that stuck only broadly to Ram Kelkar’s splendid original screenplay in the first half and went totally and nonsensically berserk in the second? The Facebook angle (see below) was a joke! And what was that explosion all about??
6) What made Ghai associate himself with this one as a co-producer? Why defile permanently Mukta Arts’ memory and record of its first super-hit with an inferior reprise in every way?
Alright, alright, the story: An evil politician Pasha (Aditya Pancholi) makes his adopted son Suraj (Sooraj Pancholi, his real-life son) kidnap a Deputy Inspector General of police's daughter Radha (Athiya Shetty) so that the cop will refrain from giving evidence against Pasha in a watertight case. Love blossoms between the youngsters, but the DIG hates criminals, and there are other villains too.
The wannabe Ghai (Advani) keeps an occasional tight control on his actors, but otherwise makes zilch effort to be a cut above the routine violent love stories we have seen in the last 15 years. His songs are badly placed (and edited), confused accounts of part lip-sync and more, and ridiculous in their concepts. The action is oh-so-absurd-wannabe-South-Indian, and, in those films, they either make it believable or amusing but acceptable. The emotions, largely, are plastic.
The wannabe Jackie Shroff-Meenakshi Seshadri pair are not bad at all and can be best judged by, hopefully, future better scripts, characters and directors. Sooraj Pancholi is very good, decent or not-so-impressive by turns, and his looks vary too. On the X-factor front, he does not seem a high-achiever, but who knows what can happen in a better film? Shetty’s diction can improve, but she looks nice, is too tall for most heroes, and her heavy lips come in the way of her appeal. She is the more consistent of the two, though.
The wannabe Sanjeev Kumar (Sharad Kelkar) is not very different from his television adventures (especially the recent “Agent Raghav”) in his expressions and body language. It was too much of a lost case, we guess, to match up, and the bad script and dialogues did not help.
The wannabe Shammi Kapoor (Tigmanshu Dhulia) looks unkempt, almost a ruffian like one of my colleagues so perceptively opined, when he is supposed to be a DIG. His acting is remarkably stilted and, sometimes, almost wooden.
The wannabe Amrish Puri (Aditya Pancholi, miscast) is like a bad joke.
Among the supporting actors, Chetan Hansraj overacts, and the actor who plays Rannvijay is intolerable. Suraj’s cohorts are alright.
And let us now narrate the most addle-pated part of the narrative: Radha goes to Paris (to learn dance, we think) and since this is after Suraj’s arrest, her brother spins a fictional tale to their dad of her having a steady relationship with his rich, young Facebook friend Ranvijay, who stays there, but with whom he is actually not even in contact. This is to buy time so that Suraj will be out of jail and will seek an honest living and be considered an acceptable match for Radha in her dad’s ‘cop’ eyes!
And whaddayaknow? Ranvijay is a criminal who even comes to India and is in cahoots with Suraj’s enemy (Chetan Hansraj) and has a deal with Pasha! So much so that he becomes — rapidly — the main villain in the last 30 minutes!!
And yes, some cult lyrics from the original are used as clichéd lines (‘dialogues’) in this one: “Pyar Karnewale Kabhi Darte Nahin / Jo Darte Hain Woh Pyar Karte Nahin!”
This one’s another “Lambi Judaai” (long separation) from good cinema.
Rating: ** (An extra ½ star for a decent, deceptively-promising first half)
Salman Khan Films, Mukta Arts, Eros International and Emmay Entertainment present “Hero”
Produced by: Salma Khan, Salman Khan and Subhash Ghai
Directed by: Nikhil Advani
Written by: Subhash Ghai, Nikhil Advani and Umesh Bist
Music: Amaal Mallik, Sachin-Jigar, Meet Bros. Anjjan and Jassi Katyal
Starring: Sooraj Pancholi, Athiya Shetty, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Sharad Kelkar, Chetan Hansraj, Anita Hassnandani, Aditya Pancholi and others