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Hero : Movie Review

Director: Nikhil Advani Actors: Sooraj Pancholi, Athiya Shetty, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Aditya
Pancholi, Chetan Hansraj, Sharad Kelkar

In 1983, songs like Ding Dong O Baby Sing Song were considered adorable. Today, it could be read as a raunchy nursery rhyme. But this remake of Subhash Ghai's three-decade-old classic Hero fails to impress for reasons beyond relevance. Lazy characterisation and drab dialogues delivered with ill-deserved conviction are just a few nails on this coffin. When the female lead announces, "Sooraj, main tumhe kabhi bhool nahin sakti," it sounds more like a threat than a declaration of love. Later, in her long plea to Buddha, who she refers to as Buddhaji, when she promises to quit non-vegetarian food and alcohol in return for her lover's recovery (he gets shot at), it makes you want to crush the popcorn in your hands.

HERO poster

The film opens to close shots of muscles, belonging to parts of the body you didn't know could be flexed. Soon, we learn that they belong to Sooraj Kaushik (Sooraj Pancholi), an indestructible gunda, who can single-handedly kick slap several other gundas. He also manages handstands on a bed of nails, practices bare-chested boxing in snow-clad settings and other feats that you shouldn't try at home or on a holiday. He can, because he is 'Hero tera' (refer to Salman Khan's chartbuster). 

But Sooraj is a bad boy with a golden heart. All the money earned from maar-peet goes to someone's MBA tuition fee or someone's behen ki shaadi. He meets Radha (Athiya Shetty) on the dance floor, as Radha likes to party and take a million selfies. Privileged and pampered, Radha also happens to be the daughter of IG Shreekant Mathur (Tigmanshu Dhulia) and sister of Dheeraj (Sharad Kelkar), also a cop. When tasked by his "baba", Pasha (Aditya Pancholi), a convicted murderer, to kidnap Radha, Sooraj nails the job. Later, he nails his abductee. At some point, he confesses, "Maine tumhara kidnap kiya hain." But it's too late. Radha replies, "I don't care. Just tell me that you love me." Not too late to exit the screen yet.

For the star kids, one can imagine the pressure to deliver on their surnames. Regrettably, they don't. Out of the two, Sooraj is more committed, even while he mostly lets his biceps do the emoting. But he ticks the Ms of surviving as a Bollywood hero: muscles, moves and mojo. Athiya's character does little more than flip her hair about like she were in a shampoo commercial. Her expression for surprise, shock, seduction and sorrow is the same: wide eyed and bewildered, like an electrocuted ostrich. 

Nikhil Advani, who has also directed Katti Batti (releasing next week), seems to have helmed this one as a side project, with little care for re-telling the story. Dated expletives like "imaandari ka pilla" share space with geeky ones, "Past ko Alt+ Ctrl+Delete karo." Salman fans, who can't get the title track out of their head, will have to survive the entire film as Main hoon hero tera plays with the closing credits.

The Hero that catapulted Jackie Shroff and Meenakshi Sheshadri to instant stardom had songs like Lambi Judai and Tu Mera Hero which can be partly credited, as they'd factor in the success of films then. But the predictable plot featuring a union of partners from disparate conditions: rich and poor, cop and robber, coolie and client, was passable even though over-utilised then. Today, this photocopy with no plot tweaks seems little more than a tired effort. So if you don't get tickets to what's playing in the neighbouring screen, we'd suggest checking out the food court instead.

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