Next week, Nikhil Advani-directed Hero, a remake of the 1983 Subhash Ghai film of the same name. Those who were around back then will remember the hit movie that made Jackie Shroff and Meenakshi Seshadri household names but for the rest, here’s a recap.
The movie opens with a scary-looking Amrish Puri, who plays Pasha, being sent to prison (most justifiably, as it turns out), thanks to a retired IGP Shrikanth Mathur(Shammi Kapoor). Pasha writes to his adoptive son and loyal henchman, Jackie (Jackie Shroff) to get him out. Jackie responds by kidnapping Shrikanth’s daughter, Radha(Sheshadri). Young boy and young girl, alone together, sing songs, play the flute and fall in love (background vocals provided by other loyal henchmen who help keep her in captivity). Transformed by Radha’s love, Jackie surrenders himself to the police and is imprisoned for two years. Radha, of course promises to wait. On release, Jackie gets a job, marries his ladylove and they live happily ever after. Now that would have been a simpler movie, right? Alas, that is not what happened.
After Jackie goes to jail, the movie runs away from Ghai like a car with severed brakes, though it’s not all bad. It gives a chance for Sanjeev Kumar (as Radha’s brother and ally, Damodar) to shine, as he takes over the film’s comic moments. A friend of his is brought in to masquerade as Radha’s love interest to prevent her from marrying elsewhere – Shakti Kapoor as the comical villain Jimmy. Suddenly, Pasha is remembered who escapes from prison and befriends Jimmy in Singapore. A motorcycle race between Jackie and Jimmy becomes a Yamaha motorbike ad, while throwing in a sly dig at Honda. We hurry towards the climax where Pasha laughs maniacally, Shrikanth Mathur glowers, Jimmy goes loony and Damodar comes up with another ridiculous caper. Jackie leaves his hospital bed (where Pasha’s thugs had put him), dramatically bandaged, leather jacketed and armed with a flute, and rushes to rescue Radha and Co. There are several fight scenes, the bad guys die, the good ones live, Shrikanth begrudgingly gives Jackie and Radha his blessings, and finally everyone lives happily ever after.
Musical thugs, flute, bikes and a song that actually goes, "Ding Dong Baby Sing a Song". Enjoy
The movie is pretty good, and must have been amazing in 1983, but unfortunately, it doesn’t age very well. Today’s suave and cynical audiences would not be particularly impressed by young Jackie’s dying parents and his talents as a flautist that he inherits from his father, nor would they believe the existence of the lovable, musical thugs.Hero, however, has some fantastic actors who absolutely own their roles, without edging anyone out. With Advani’s remake releasing next week, fans of the original will wonder if the charm and humor of the old one can be retained. Nikhil Advani, debut actors Athiya Shetty and Sooraj Pancholi are well aware of their responsibility to the old fans, while hoping to gain a few more.