Santoshi's comedy holds up a headache-inducing film

Santoshi's comedy holds up a headache-inducing film

Phata Poster Nikhla Hero
Hindi (U) ***
Director: Rajkumar Santoshi
Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Padmini Kolhapure, Saurabh Shukla, Mukesh Tiwari, Ileana D'Cruz, Darshan Zariwala

The phrase describes the “dhamakedaar” entry of the hero, especially in action films. That’s how the hero emerges in Phata Poster Nikhla Hero, too, but after spending 146 minutes in the theatre, you come out realising that Shahid is definitely not the hero.

Neither is the story, nor the script, nor the music, nor the action, nor the emotion. Because, when you exit, you are still replaying the comedy scenes in your head, and smiling goofily at every single one of them.

The story seems like a rehash of a 1980s-90s potboiler. Single mother (Padmini Kolhapure) drives an auto in a village to raise her only son (Shahid Kapoor) to be an honest police officer, while son dreams of becoming an actor, nay, a hero! By the demand of the story, he ends up in Mumbai, where he is mistaken for a cop because of a rented uniform, and ends up doing some police-worthy work, amid much hilarity. The local cops, meanwhile, sit tight, having been paid for by local mafia boss (Saurabh Shukla).

Another series of convoluted, avoidable circumstances lead to another bout of laughs, wherein girl (Ileana D’Cruz) falls for boy, mother comes to Mumbai and ends up in a mutual misunderstanding with top cop (Darshan Zariwala). She also falls ill on finding out her son is no cop, but an aspiring actor. And that's just the first half!

The second half is about son trying to redeem himself, with or without the help of the cops, his love, and the ever-helpful group of film-industry hopefuls he has befriended. The task: Stop badman “Napoleon”, who has a twist you can spot a mile away!

Pritam Chakraborty's songs are hummable, but their placement in the film rob it of pace. The over-the-top action sequences seem hackneyed. And the emotional scenes don't exactly touch a chord. It’s just the comedy that has you laughing long after the film is over.

 Especially commendable are Shahid himself, Zariwala, the ever-dependable Shukla, and to some extent, Ileana. They alone add one star to the review. An extra half star for Salman Khan’s self-deprecatory act rounds up the rating.

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