Phata Poster Nikhla Hero: Film Review

Rajkumar Santoshi, the name is enough introduction, be it comedy, social issues or politics, the man has ventured into every genre and emerged as a success. With a cult like Andaz Apna Apna, he set a bar for himself and took it a notch higher (although this film is not a cult film) with Ranbir-Katrina starrer Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani. However, Santoshi’s another bowl at comedy swings a little, touches the floor and bounces back.

With a duration of 146 minutes and 20 seconds the film, Phata Poster Nikhla Hero gives you a not-so-hilarious yet a little bit of funny sequences. It is not what Andaz Apna Apna was like and neither is it anywhere close to Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani. This film finds its charm in the over-action and over-reactions of Shahid Kapoor and ludicrous talks of Ileana D’Cruz. Ever since his maiden venture, Shahid won applause for his expressive face but with this film he establishes his forte in, what we call, loud overture. Be it his crying or delivering a short dialogue, his face changes expressions at a fraction of a few seconds. Ileana is seen as a cross between a social worker, a rescuer and a reporter. In spite of being all this, she is still a bimbette. This being a film for Shahid after a hiatus of two years to recover the hurt that Mausam caused, we expected a lot from him. So much for the love bestowed on him for a mature role in a film like Jab We Met!

Coming to the story of the film, it deals with the poverty-stricken life of a mother and her son, who come from a small village, Shirgaon, located in the interiors of Maharashtra. Mother Savitri (Padmini Kolhapure) earns her living by driving an auto-rickshaw and wishes that her son be an honest police officer. However, Vishwas Rao (Shahid) dreams of becoming a superstar. After her many failed attempts to make her son qualify the entrance test for Police recruitment, Savitri looses all hope. She is soon greeted with an opportunity to send her son to join the Mumbai Police force. She seizes this opportunity the very minute it knocks on her door.

Mumbai brings freshness to Vishwas’s aspirations. In village, Vishwas’s buddhi maa also has her hopes renewed. Vishwas doesn’t trot the path his mother chooses for him, but walks his way, meeting people, making friends and finally with much struggle lands a role for himself as a corrupt Police officer in a film. Accidentally, when his clothes go missing, Vishwas, although, unwilling, has to move out and about the city in his rented Police uniform. Driving through the congested streets of Mumbai he meets Complaint Kajal (Ileana). Complaint Kajal leads Vishwas to live the life of a cop. So basically, Vishwas is a cop but in fact he is not a cop and yet when he fights the goons he acts like a cop! The story furthers to bring a mafia in the picture. At the crux; you see, blood fight against the blood. The story of the film looks to be a concoction of Andaz Apna Apna and Munnabhai MBBS. Alike Munnabhai, this film too has Vishwas’s buddhi maa come to greet him for she has seen Vishwas’s photo in the newspaper. As this news is broken to Vishwas what follows is series of lies to put up an act of being a cop. But Vishwas’s con is not hidden for long, the fun soon turns to tragedy.

If the first half of the film is bearable, the second is watchable. The songs are not appeasing and the lyrics unappealing. The choreography too, goes haywire. Action sequences are a remainder of the action sequences from Rohit Shetty’s film. Santoshi maintains a style of the 90s in this film but fails miserably with abrupt interruptions of unnecessary songs. The rhythm which goes missing from the film’s songs finds a voice in the dialogues (“Agar maine vardi uttari toh meri maa bhagwan ko pyaari”, “Salman toh ek bahana tha aapki ladki ko gundo se jo bachana tha”). You see Santoshi promoting the sequel to Andaz Apna Apna in most of the scenes. You will often hear “haila” and “oui ma” with the “Main jo hoon wo main nahi hoon” philosophy. And also the likes of the dialogue, “Aap purush nahi… Mahapurush hain.”

The film goes wrong when you see a doctor himself calling up the patient’s kin asking for money needed for the operation of an ailing mother. Then you see a ‘public perceived’ cop going to a party and shaking a leg with an item girl. Again the film falters when a boy from Maharashtra’s rural region fails to call his mother “Aai”. There the story lost its rustic touch! Despite all this, the film gives you moments of laughter and yes, the signature climax seen in Santoshi’s films (you know the one that usually takes place at the goonde ka adda?).

 

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