Direction: Nikhil Advani
Cast: Sooraj Pancholi, Athiya Shetty, Aditya Pancholi, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Sharad Kelkar, Vivaan Bhatena
Produced by:Salman Khan
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 cliched 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.
The story is as formulaic as it gets but at least Ghai’s Hero gave its leading debutantes the opportunity to impress viewers with their screen presence and chemistry, and showcase their talent. Hero is made less with the purpose of demonstrating the acting capabilities of the newcomers and more with the intention of presenting their physical attributes. Sadly, Pancholi and Shetty here are nothing more than a well-built young man and a pretty face respectively, with Shetty especially reduced to reciting some unintentionally hilarious lines such as “Thank you for your help, you dork-faced Muppet”. This is the writer’s way of reminding viewers that the film is set in 2015.