I sometimes wonder, what facets remain to be explored in the romance genre by dream merchants here? Right from MUGHAL-E-AZAM to BOBBY, EK DUUJE KE LIYE, HERO, QAYAMAT SE QAYAMAT TAK, MAINE PYAR KIYA and DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE, to the love stories attempted by new-age directors of late, just about every facet of love and romance has been explored and presented on the silver screen. Every film-maker, from K. Asif, Raj Kapoor and Yash Chopra to Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, have delivered some memorable love stories that hold tremendous recall value.
But pyaar, ishq, mohabbat can never go out of fashion. Besides, every film-maker has his/her individualistic style of interpreting a love taleâ€¦
Ironically, when a star-kid takes his first step in Bollywood, his launch pad, intuitively, is designed as a love story. Tiger Shroff's debut vehicle HEROPANTI is no exception. A remake of the Telugu Hit PARUGU [2008; starring Allu Arjun, Sheela, Prakash Raj], which was remade subsequently in other Indian languages, HEROPANTI has been modified in its Hindi avatar [albeit slightly] to suit the North Indian sensibilities. It's a vintage love story that gives its lead actor ample scope to depict heroism and waltz into your heart. Does it work, let's find out!
Let's enlighten you about the premise of the film, before we proceed ahead. Chaudhary's [Prakash Raj] eldest daughter [Sandeepa Dhar] elopes with her boyfriend minutes before her marriage. Resultantly, Chaudhary's relatives and henchmen start searching for the guy in question and kidnap his friends, including Bablu [Tiger Shroff]. Apparently, Bablu has lost his heart to Dippy [Kriti Sanon], who happens to be Chaudhary's younger daughter. What happens next?
Director Sabbir Khan brings all his tropes to the table -- ample twists, turns and melodrama, striking action pieces, ear-pleasing music, eye-filling locales and of course, the crackling chemistry of the lead pair. Borrowing a page out of the contemporary masala movies re-invented by Prabhu Dheva specifically, Sabbir presents an absorbing fare that hits the right notes as far as love stories are concerned. The ecstasy of first love, the stern father and the wall of opposition, the never-give-up attitude of the lovers... it's a familiar world no doubt, but Sabbir makes sure he keeps you absorbed and engaged at the same time.
In a first of its kind on the Hindi screen, HEROPANTI offers some daredevil stunts that would leave you awe-inspired -- the martial arts, the back flips, the parkour sequence, the aerial moves and the kicks... all filmed without a body double. That's Tiger's core strength and the director capitalises on it completely. As a matter of fact, Tiger, well-trained in gymnastics and martial arts, fills the 'action hero' slot that had been lying vacant for a while now. The naysayers may scoff at this aspect being given too much importance, but, hello, that's the boy's USP, so why not capitalise on it? Also, HEROPANTI is an unapologetic commercial masala fare that also happens to be the launch vehicle of a star-kid, so why not press all the buttons?
Hiccups? The problem with this genre is that you need to constantly offer riveting stuff to the viewer. Since one can guess the direction the story is heading, it becomes imperative to be on the go constantly. The writing hits a rough patch after a point, with the conflict between the lovers and the girl's stubborn parent being stretched slightly. Also, inserting a party song [while the search mission is on in Delhi] looks weird in the scheme of things. Additionally, the emergence of the jealous groom [Vikram Singh] in the climax takes the film to the predictable zone. The finale has traces of DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE, but looks completely justified here. Having said that, HEROPANTI is shades much, much better than the lazy entertainers we've been subjected to in the recent past.
Most debut vehicles of star-kids are embellished with a lilting soundtrack and the songs of HEROPANTI, one must admit, are peppy, youth-centric and fit the context well, especially 'Whistle Baja' [the signature tune of HERO is the icing on the cake], 'Rabba' and 'Tabah'. For a film that makes no qualms about being an entertainer, the dialogue are punctuated accordingly. They are aimed at the hoi polloi, soaked in energy, power and acid, as the situation demands. The background score is top notch.
Tiger Shroff flaunts his chiseled, well-sculpted physique with six packs et al uninhibitedly and scores brownie points in action and stunts. As an actor, Tiger registers an impact in several sequences. For a first-timer, he exudes supreme confidence -- he looks the tough guy he has been entrusted to be, yet enact the romantic with conviction. This should make the spectators connect extremely well with his character. Kriti, who debuted in a Telugu biggie earlier this year [1: NENOKKADINE, starring Mahesh Babu], looks gorgeous and handles her part with certainty and confidence. She has the trappings of a star, no two opinions on that. Prakash Raj, who had performed the same role in the original Telugu film, is a seasoned actor who gets his character spot-on.
Sandeepa Dhar is effective in a cameo. Vikram Singh is alright. The actors portraying the part of Tiger's friends perform well.
On the whole, HEROPANTI is designed as a launch pad for Tiger Shroff and it gives him ample opportunity to prove his credentials in his debut film. The good news is, he delivers a striking performance. Additionally, what works is the masala quotient -- melodrama, music and action. An entertainer that hits the right notes!