Direction: Nikhil Advani
Actors: Sooraj Pancholi, Athiya Shetty, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Aditya Pancholi
There are three motives that drive a remake: when the original film is so good that it just has to be retold for new audiences; when the industry has run out of ideas and wants to make a quick buck; and when they assume the audiences will accept any old thing if it is repackaged glossily enough.
The remake of Subhash Ghai’s Hero (1983) is, unfortunately, a combination of the second and third. This is a regressive, loud, in-your-face film whose plot holes and poor performances even outnumber the numerous slow-motion shots of protagonist Sooraj Pancholi’s muscles. The only surprise is that director Nikhil Advani, who made the genuinely good D-Day in 2013, would produce a flick so lacking in flourish.
Also read: Sooraj, Athiya don't impress in the badly done remake of Hero
The story doesn’t deviate much from the original — caught in a tussle between gangster Pasha (Aditya Pancholi) and inspector general Mathur (Tigmanshu Dhulia), Sooraj (Sooraj) kidnaps the IG’s daughter Radha (Athiya Shetty) on the orders of Pasha, by posing as a cop on a secret mission. Radha falls in love with Sooraj, even though he has confessed to her that he’s not a cop but a goon. Their love story naturally causes problems for Pasha and the remainder of the film follows Sooraj as he tries to fight both sides for his new lady love, trying to rev bikes up bridges and dodge bullets like Rajnikanth.
Regression comes in various forms — the heroine is incredibly, hilariously dumb and seems to fall for him primarily because he showed off his biceps at regular intervals even though he, in true ’80s fashion, is rude, churlish and shows little interest in her. Advani’s direction is a throwback to the ’80s, where people shouted and frowned to imply power and impact respectively. It’s not all the director’s fault, though. It becomes quite obvious early on that the two leads shout and gesticulate to compensate for their lack of acting chops.
Sooraj, despite — or perhaps because of — all the rippling muscles has very little likeability. This unfortunate debut also does nothing for Athiya — daughter of Suniel Shetty — because her character is so terribly written that she is never allowed to do much more than pout, take selfies and wait to be rescued. The only reasonably enjoyable moment is in the end credits, when co-producer Salman Khan shows up to sing a song.
Don’t get carried away, though. Even that’s not worth sitting through the rest of it.
Read: Here's why Jackie will not watch Athiya's Hero for free