What does it mean to be a hero? Is there any purpose to his existence, if he doesn’t get to save good people from life threatening situations at his own cost? Hero, the movie is like watching a computer programmed with a hero complex, dropping punches instead of punch line with every presumed turn of the screenplay, a terrifyingly boring loop that seemingly has no end. (Thank god for movie conventions that it ended within 3 hours of run time.) Sooraj (Sooraj Pancholi, the hero in question, lives the life of a goon with his army of five archetypal loyal sidekicks (fat, deaf-and-dumb, Bengali, red pants and a regular one). For his entry, we discover him working out at the Mumbai dockyards with so much intensity; he would put India’s Got Talent performers to shame. Lifting weights,doing headstands on nails, body weight exercises with a stick — there is nothing that this debutant doesn’t do with his lithe frame, in such sharp focus, and with such tight close ups that no fan of his will be found complaining.
Radha(Athiya Shetty),the Juliet to this Romeo is a spoilt brat — an aspiring dancer, daughter to the Inspector General, who likes to throw her weight around, eat non-vegetarian food (incredulously a big issue in the film, once Radha claims Sooraj’s troubles aren’t over because she hasn’t given up on non-vegetarian food and alcohol, or stopped using bad words).
Every man in Radha’s life is adamant about saving her from imagined peril (the peril in question is mostly each other in all cited cases in the movie). Her father, her elder brother, her boyfriend Sooraj, her fiancée (let’s get into that later), everyone connives and contrives to organise her life for her according to their own convenience. A comedy of error occurs in the process, with lots of punches thrown in between like sev on bhel. Unfortunately, the comedy that occurs is mostly unintentional, and embarrassing for the film.
The crux of the film is how Sooraj Pancholi, a self-made man, isn’t good enough to become his girlfriend’s husband, the girl who swears in English, and bathes like the French. To make matters worse, their fathers are at loggerheads; the reason they get to meet a second time is because he intends to kidnap her — Highway style. This “madam” on the other hand, is too “high class” for our local mawali; in her words, “Mai cheez original hoon, tu chalu note hai”. Unlike new age realism in Bollywood’s millennial contributions, this film is informed from the escapist mainstream ethic of the ’80s, selling aspirations, of a romantic nature in this case. Sooraj Pancholi looks and acts nothing like a goon — Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor are so much more convincing in Welcome Back, running in the next auditorium. Athiya Shetty pulls off the rich brat girl dream very well; we meet her in a club, and are shocked to find her move into a traditional Marathi house when she comes back from her pubbing night to a family full of worried parents and her inspector papa’s army of policemen. The hot-girl-turns-sati-savitri dream that Cocktail had sold back in 2012 comes into play here; you get the woman with the modern outlook, but once she falls in love with you she doesn’t misbalance your authority. (To underscore this fact, she immediately starts wearing suits and even gives a kathak performance to bemused Tibetan kids). The biggest aspiration on sale here is the desire to be a “hero”, to save the girl and win her heart, and Sooraj does so repeatedly. Unfortunately, since no context has been built deep enough for any of us to care, what the audience sees is a string of random fight sequences, mixed up with mush scenes where the girl and guy profess undying love for each other (after spending 14 days in each other’s company). No matter that their fathers are enemies, Sooraj is entangled in to kidnap the girl — all that is left for you to unravel if you decide to watch the film over the weekend.