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Film Review | Heropanti

LiveMint logoLiveMint 23-05-2014 Nandini Ramnath

Heropanti marks the arrival of Jackie Shroff’s son Jai Hemant, stage name Tiger, and lest you forget the heritage of the boy with the loopy smile, sculpted torso and Cubist features, there’s the background music riffs on hit tunes from daddy’s own debut, Hero.

Hero. Heropanti. Get it? Poor Tiger Shroff is going to have a difficult time prancing out from under his father’s shadow but then again, the only reason the boy is in the movie business is because of his parentage, so perhaps our sympathy is misplaced.

A remake of the Telugu movie Parugu, Heropanti follows the Andaz Apna Apna dictum that a man isn’t a mere man but is a superman. Wisecracking ubermensch Bablu (Shroff) crosses paths with a Jat overlord (Prakash Raj) whose elder daughter has eloped with her lover. Tiger has lost his heart to the overlord’s second daughter, Dimpy (Kriti Shanon). Will they elope too or, since they have ingested the lessons of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, will they make peace with their obdurate elders?

Building a sense of anticipation clearly isn’t director Sabbir Khan’s suit. The screenplay lurches from one scene to the next, piles on the risible dialogue, desultorily cuts to a song every now and then, and fails to notice that Bablu and Dimpy are so awkward together that it’s not surprising when Prakash Raj’s character asks Bablu why his daughter has chosen her lover over her father.

Shroff in actionThe Telugu action movie, whose Hindi remakes pop up with alarming regularity on the release calendar, is defined by its checklist approach to filmmaking. Heropanti doggedly goes down the list of chest-baring and invincible action hero, dim-witted and alabaster-complexioned heroine, buffoonish villain who is perennially surrounded by hirsute but ineffective strongmen, punch dialogue, comic-book violence, slow-motion action stolen from Korean and Hong Kong flicks, and a conflict that takes as much time to resolve as switching on a light. Heropanti claims to make a statement against Khap panchayats and honour killings in Haryana (routinely described in the movie as “Jatland”), but its moral compass is even more broken down than Jack Sparrow’s.

Miscast as a romantic lead opposite Sanon’s grating ingénue and an action hero who can plough his way through a herd of burlies, Tiger Shroff grins away in the hope that his musculature will compensate for his inability to animate his features with the appropriate emotion. Several leading men before Shroff have boosted their careers by building up body mass and appearing in movies with plots as profound as a gym manual, but they were fortunate enough to have a smart screenplay, crackling dialogue writers and a popular soundtrack. All of the above are absent in Heropanti, resulting in a 146-minute tour of incompetence.

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