April 4, 2014
Varun Dhawan, Ileana D’Cruz, Arunoday Singh, Nargis Fakhri, Anupam Kher, Evelyn Sharma
Main Tera Hero is a film designed by a sensible father as a platform for his not-undeserving actor son. Director David Dhawan’s boy Varun Dhawan made his debut in late 2012 with Karan Johar’s Student of the Year. Dhawan Junior is charming, sweet-faced, dances with gusto and has a nice body that is, thankfully, less bulked up in Main Tera Hero than it was in his first film – this suits your boyish looks better, young man! That he can act was evident even through the fluff in SOTY, and we now know he has a penchant for comedy too. The only time Dad slips up on this front in Main Tera Hero (MTH) is when he gets Varun to dance to an indifferently choreographed, spoofy remix of Badtameez dil. Ranbir Kapoor’s swivelling hips from that song in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani are still fresh in our memories, and Varun comes off looking ordinary in comparison. That hitch apart, MTH has got me saying precisely what I suspect Daddy Dhawan wants us to say: Okay, here’s a cute kid I want to see more of.
MTH is fun without being a work of comedic genius. Of course it’s slapstick humour, but hey, it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. It’s also the film’s good fortune that the post-interval portion is way better than pre-, leaving us with happy memories and a mood to forgive the decidedly slower first half.
This is a story of an innocuous-looking student called Seenu (Varun) who falls for college heartthrob Sunaina (Ileana D’Cruz) who in turn is the magnificent obsession of a corrupt, vile-tempered goonda policeman called Angad Negi (Arunoday Singh). Turning MTH into a comedy of errors at one point is the entry – I won’t tell you why and how – of millionairess Ayesha (Nargis Fakhri) and her gangster dad (Anupam Kher).
This is not a film that merits serious analysis. Suffice it to say that it is both light-hearted and happy to be silly. While the focus is primarily on Varun, veteran Kher gets enough footage to justify his presence – and I have to say this is the most I’ve enjoyed watching him in a comedy in a while. Ditto Rajpal Yadav in a considerably smaller role. Arunoday Singh is not bad at all as beefcake on a short fuse – not as good as he was in Aisha and Yeh Saali Zindagi, but he certainly redeems himself here after his embarrassingly stodgy turn in Jism 2.
Having given Bollywood audiences a sensitive portrayal of a woman in a loveless marriage in Barfi! and effectively goofed around in Phata Poster Nikhla Hero, Tollywood star Ileana has settled for a film that gives her little scope for acting. She’s fair enough when the camera is on her, but although she’s the main female lead, the cinematographer inexplicably focuses more on Nargis once she enters the picture – yes, even in a song and dance number where they’re in the same frame – which is strange considering that Ileana is such a beautiful woman. That being said, Nargis is hot and in this film her laboured dialogue delivery has been used to comical effect by the director. Dhawan has also been wise to give her minimal dialogues.
It’s worth mentioning that while all three leads have been very well dressed, I unexpectedly found myself noticing Varun’s wardrobe even more than the girls’ pretty clothes. I mean, “pretty” is easy to achieve, “interesting” is tougher; and I really really want to borrow those thigh-high boots that he’s wearing with fitted white trousers in the song-and-dance number Besharmi ki height or that white shirt and that other blue shirt he wears for Galat baat hai. A double thumbs up to designer Kunal Rawal for his work. Incidentally, those songs by Sajid-Wajid are peppy but unmemorable, nice while they lasted but haven’t lasted in the memoryscape for too many hours after I watched the film.
MTH delights in equitably objectifying its hero and heroines, and all of them seem to be having a good time looking good for us, which is a reminder that all objectification is not objectionable, only demeaning objectification should be. It’s also equitable in other departments: I mean, when “puraani haveli ke paas chikni chameli” is used to describe an old paunchy man and his sexy young girlfriend, exactly what can you object to? The ageism directed at the man or the sexism directed at the woman? Suggestion: neither. I laughed.
In another film, a loophole of this nature would be inexcusable. It’s hard to be angry with this goofball comedy though. In one of his finest works till date, David Dhawan had Govinda dancing to a song and mouthing these lyrics: “Main tera main tera main tera main tera main tera hero no.1”. Main Tera Hero gets its name from there. It’s nowhere close to Dhawan’s best, but it’s got enough paisa vasool elements to remind us of how ridiculously brilliant the man was when he peaked with Govinda in the 1990s. Who knows? Some day soon, he might hit another peak. Until then, there’s this nutty, harmless little entertainer called Main Tera Hero.
Rating (out of five): **3/4 (stars out of 5)
CBFC Rating (India):