Saturday, 21 September 2013

Shuddh Desi Fun My Review Phata Poster Nikla Hero

Director  Rajkumar Santoshi

Starring  Shahid Kapoor, Ileana d'cruz, Padmini Kolhapure, Saurabh Shukla, Sanjay Mishra

Rajkumar Santoshi has directed 13 films to date, ranging from Ghayal and Damini, to the cult caper Andaaz Apna Apna and his last film Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani though not my favorite, rang loudly at the BO cash registers.

He is back with Phata Poster Nikla Hero. With Shahid Kapoor really in need of a hit, this film has a lot riding on it for him too.

Let me set this straight at the beginning, its an out and out commercial film, seeped in formula, ridden with cliches, some plot points taken directly from other films like Munnabhai MBBS.

The story is of Vishwas Rao (Shahid Kapoor) and his mother Savitri (Padmini Kolhapure). Savitri has only one dream that her son Vishwas joint the Indian Police force and become an honest officer. She has brought him up alone, working as an auto rickshaw driver in a small town near Mumbai. On the other hand, Vishwas has only one dream, of becoming a hero in Bollywood. The clash of their dreams, and how he fools Savitri into believing he has actually become a police officer is the base around which this comedy is woven. Add to it a hilariously useless Police department siding with the nefarious gangsters and a hero who gets embroiled in their business, throw in some romance and songs and you have the film.

The beginning of the film transports you to the late 70s and 80s style of film-making and you know the film can either become a campy ode or fall flat. For me it stayed in the middle, neither gaining the epicness of Andaz Apna Apna nor failing miserably like lot of bad comedies we have been subjected to in the recent past. 

Shahid is excellent in his role of a bumbling, good at heart wannabe hero. His comic timing is good and he has let go of himself, and surrendered to the director fully. He is a joy to watch in this film, and suddenly I have hopes for him again after the last two miserable films he did. He definitely is back. Illeana is totally wasted here, apart from looking pretty and gracing the songs that keep popping up out of nowhere. Padmini Kolhapure gets the most hackneyed character of the "Maa" and has very few comic scenes, mostly sniffling and sad. I wish Santoshi had given her character shades of madness that would have made this film better. In the supporting cast Darshan Zariwala does a good job given the scope of the role, Saurabh Shukla, Zakir Hussain and Sanjay Mishra are always fun to watch, and frankly help the scenes more than the script does. 

Like most films these days, the bane of the second half strikes PPNH too. Santoshi flounders in the last act, the film becomes predictable, the screenplay struggles to stay on track and the last half hour is a drag. But despite that, some moments still keep propping up where you manage half a giggle.

So does the film work for me? Yes, largely it does. Keeping the masses in mind, this film is clean fun. After the assault of Grand Masti, finally a film the family can watch together. It is way better than Chennai Express in the humor department, doesn't make fun of any community, stays away from double meaning dialogues and the other crutches Bollywood has become used to. 

See it for Shahid's comic act, he is brilliant in some scenes, specially mad moments like with a gun pointed at his chest he breaks into a sexy dance, and then goes coolly to bash up the baddies. 

And the best saved for the last, Salman Khan makes a cameo appearance, and in 2 minutes, he takes off on almost everything, including himself and Rajkumar Santoshi. Hats off for thinking of this scene Mr. Director, and Sallu is such fun!

My Verdict  2.5/5

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