Eros International & NextGen Films present: “Munna Michael”
Produced by: Eros International and Viki Rajani
Directed by: Sabbir Khan
Written by: Vimmi Datta
Music: Meet Bros., Rahul Pandey, Gourov-Roshin, Taniskk Bagchi, Tanishk-Vayu, Vishal Mishra, Pranaay, Brijesh Shandilya & Javed-Mohsin
Starring: Tiger Shroff, Nidhhi Agerwal, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Ronit Roy, Pankaj Tripathi and others
MUMBAI—For a banner named NextGen Films, the template is very 1980s-early 1990s! Munna (Tiger Shroff) is the adopted child of a dancer (Ronit Roy, shaking a leg after ‘90s films in the lead like “Jaan Tere Naam” among others) who has been forcibly retired because of his age. The child, rescued by him from a garbage bin, howls except when a Michael Jackson song plays. Naturally, he grows up to be Munna Michael, who lives for dance, though his experienced father suggests he take up a corporate job to have a good life.
The film does not mention how educated Munna is, but he can sing, dance and fight multiple hoodlums with the punch-line, “Main ladaai nahin karta. Main sirf peet-ta hoon (I don’t get into spats. I just beat people to a pulp)!”
Matters come to a head when he beats up Balli (Pankaj Tripathi), the hare-brained brother of a 42-year-old don Mahinder (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) when in Delhi. Mahinder calls Munna home and having seen him dance superbly, tells him that he will spare him if he teaches him to dance in 30 days. In that month, Munna also happens to save Mahinder’s life from assailants, and Mahinder starts treating him like a brother.
Mahinder then reveals why he wants to learn dancing – in one of the hotels he owns, Dolly (Niddhi Agerwal) is an ace dancer, and he has fallen in love with her at first sight and wants to marry her. Munna tries to play mediator, but two things happen: Dolly reveals to Munna that she is actually Deepika Sharma from Meerut, whose dream is to become a huge dancing star in Mumbai. She also starts liking Munna, because good things happen to her, somehow, whenever he is around.
Suddenly, Deepika runs away to Mumbai, and Mahinder tells Munna to search for her as he is helpless, like a wild animal deprived of his prey. In Mumbai, Munna meets her, falls in love with Deepika too and soon, it’s time for a face-off with Mahinder.
Packed with dance, hybrid music (eight songs done by eight music makers!) and action, “Munna Michael” tries to develop a connection with the youth and the kids. Having skipped the press screening (due to an early morning inconvenient location) and watched it at a nearby single-screen, it is clear to me that Shroff is a star. The lower stalls as well as a part of the balcony screamed, cheered and whistled every time Shroff danced, fought and said his punch-lines. And the actor is getting better and better at the job with every film!
It is also a brain wave, no less, for the director to have cast Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the antagonist, and to have given him punch-lines as well. The sequences wherein Munna teaches Mahinder to dance are thoroughly entertaining for the masses. Making Mahinder’s character quirky, funny yet innately decent works big-time, especially in the climax of what can be considered a very differently structured love triangle.
The casting against type also helps the film score big – besides Siddiqui, there is Ronit Roy as the cheerful, boisterous and loving father and Tripathi as the bumbling sibling of the don. Niddhi Agerwal, in her Hindi debut, shows spunk and charm and is a dream of a dancer. She will do well if she handles her career (and competition) with care and competence!
That said, it is a Tiger Shroff film all the way, and he is likely to win many more fans with this effort. And though Vimmi Datta’s script disappoints in its general triteness and we feel this is Sabbir Khan’s weakest film from among his three films with Shroff (“Heropanti” and “Baaghi”), the fare is single-screen fodder and should do well there.
The music is so-so, with some songs making a mark and many not impressing. Khan would have done well to keep a single composer, some freshness in the content besides in the casting, and an even better climax.
But in these days of message-heavy films and ‘real’ cinema, he is keeping the bastion of the entertainer intact in his modest way. And as long as we have GenY heroes who believe in classic Hindi cinema like Varun Dhawan, Arjun Kapoor and Tiger, and (increasingly) Ranveer Singh and Sidharth Malhotra, we know that the classic Hindi film will retain its oh-so-unique identity for another generation and more.
Rating: *** (Almost)