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Review: Heroes

movie reviews Updated: Oct 24, 2008 19:40 IST
Anand Singh
Anand Singh
Hindustan Times
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Cast: Sunny Deol, Salman Khan, Preity Zinta
Direction: Sameer Karnik
Ratings: **1/2

They are skirt-chasing, college-bunking stereotypes. Somehow or the other, Saand (Sohail Khan) and Nawab (Vatsal Sheth), got into film school but to get out, they have to make a graduation film, or they can't take off to the U S.

So Saand, who hates wearing clothes and looks too old to be called ‘bacha’ and his buddy Nawab hop on to a bike (they must have seen The Motorcycle Diaries). They set off on an adventure to make a film that proves that it is not a good idea to join the Indian Army.

The overage twosome in Samir Karnik's Heroes, are not anti-war. Neither are they concerned about the way soldiers are treated. A war-savvy reporter gives them letters to deliver to the families of dead soldiers– three years too late—and the biking twosome ends up sampling the real side of life which they would never have in their useless hedonistic lives (by the way, they strip at an all- girls' party).

First stop — Punjab, where a war widow (Preity Zinta) and her perky kid (Dwij Yadav) show them what life's like after her husband (Salman Khan-impressive in a small role) is killed on the battlefront.

This was an opportunity to show how the army abandons the families of its ‘martys’ to a life of struggle, but Karnik is merely interested in wringing tears the old-fashioned way, and not in starting a debate. He succeeds—mainly because Preity Zinta brings to a role a gravitas and dignity that is seen on the faces of ordinary women—this may be her coming of age as an actress.

Next the bikers go over to Himachal to meet a an air force pilot who lost his legs and his brother (Bobby Deol) to war, but is still raring to go. Being on a wheelchair does not prevent him from thrashing to pulp a bunch of ill-bred hicks harassing his girlfriend. (at the mention of ‘girlfriend’ our bikers look askance, to be told that above the knee, everything works!)

Last stop: Ladakh. Or the home of an embittered doctor (Mithun Chakraborty) who can't let go of memories of his dead son (Dino Morea). This episode doesn't quite come off.

The end can't but be flag-wavingly predictable with the useless duo becoming aware of their conscience and their nation. Rang de Motorcyling? There are a multitude of deficiencies – the miscasting of the two motorcycle dudes is the biggest. Sohail Khan and Vatsal Seth? Please, they tend to grate on the nerves.

The film is too simple and schematic — but redeemably there are some emotional moments that ring true. If not for them, it would indeed have been a heroic achievement to sit through this odyssey of two overgrown zeroes.