Sooraj ( Sooraj) is a ‘gali ka goonda’. Radha (Athiya Shetty) is an ‘IG ki beti’. The twain meet, and love blossoms.
This one line theme was turned into a full-fledged melodrama back in the early 80s, in Subhash Ghai’s superhit film of the same name, in which Jackie Shroff and Meenakshi Seshadri had played the lovers from either side of the railway tracks. The overblown storyline and treatment matched the time it was made in: the yawning gap between the good-bad boy and the goody-goody girl, the winsome fit between Jackie and Meenakshi, and the nearly three hours of running time to make sure we rooted for young love as it battled parental disapproval and evil villains.
This stale story is transported to 2015 for reasons best known to the filmmakers. If you are giving us a brand new pair, what is to stop you from giving us a brand new plot?
And if you do have to remake that 80s show, why can’t you do a better job? A contemporary self-aware remake with a nudge-wink nod to the audience is the only way one could have taken this regurgitated ‘violent love story’ (quotes mine because it reminds me of such an ‘80s tagline) of the good-hearted ‘goonda’ and the impetuous ‘IG-ki-beti’.
As befits Salman Khan’s much-publicised ‘shagird’, Sooraj Pancholi has great-looking musculature. As befits Aditya Pancholi’s son, he has, unlike most debutants, a voice with some timbre. As the first five minutes of the film show us, he can fight well. As to his co-star and the other star kid, Athiya Shetty (daughter of Suniel) has an unusual built, being strikingly tall and rangy, and a faint potential to be natural. They have clearly been trained in the all the attributes that are meant to be on the CV of a Bollywood ‘hero’ and ‘heroine’, but there’s nothing in this listless clichéd drag that works to their equally clearly slim advantage.
You watch, with growing disbelief and despair, the fresh-faced ‘goonda’ and his faithful friends (another tired trope) effect the sloppiest ‘kidnap’ you’ve seen. The rest of it entails the doings of Bad Guy Pasha (Aditya Pancholi), the leading lady’s father (Tigmanshu Dhiulia) bellowing at the top of his voice, her older supportive brother (Kelkar) hovering in the background, and the fisticuffs and the songs stuffed in between. The end brings relief, with Sallu Bhai working the end credits, exuding more star power in two minutes than we’ve seen in two hours.
This ‘Hero’ is a zero.
Star Cast of Hero: Sooraj Pancholi, Athiya Shetty, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Sharad Kelkar, Aditya Pancholi
Director: Nikhil Advani