MUMBAI: When watching a David Dhavan film, remember he is a Manmohan Desai fan and believes in making films to entertain. Ergo, don’t look for logic or argue about the last scene and the next being not connected. As long as the film gives you ‘time pass’ his agenda has been met. A father directing his son is a rare privilege enjoyed by very few filmmakers. Here, David directs his son, Varun Dhavan.
Varun is a good-for-nothing boy studying in Coonoor and, obviously, finds it hard to get through his class. Many of his fellow students go to Bengaluru to study and come back with better results. Varun also decides to do that. Once in a Bengaluru college, the inevitable happens. He spots Ileana D’Cruz and, for him, it is love at first sight. Since this is a remake of the Telugu film, Kandireega, what follows is bizarre! It happens only in South Indian films and that is, Ileana is being watched over by a bunch of goons delegated by Arunoday Singh, a local cop who is in love with her and overtly possessive about her so no one dare look at her, let alone come anywhere near her or love her. Arunoday is always accompanied by a fellow cop and his sidekick, Rajpal Yadav.
Well, Varun has already fallen for her and is not scared of Arunoday which he proves at first opportunity by thrashing his goons. Next he should be thrashing Arunoday and that would be the end of the story. But that would also mean the end of the film less than hour into it. For the sake of affording the film its full 2-hours-plus run, Arunoday challenges Varun to win over Ileana in the next three days or else face his wrath.
Varun wins over Ileana even before he starts and Arunoday should not be a hurdle anymore. And he is not, but there is a bigger challenge for Varun now. His lady love, Ileana is kidnapped and the man behind it is the father of a girl who fell for Varun when he was on his way to Bengaluru. It so happened that he fought some rowdy boys on the way and a girl, Nargis Fakhri, who captured his actions on her handycam had fallen for him. She happens to be the daughter of the biggest don operating between Asia and Africa, Anupam Kher. Ileana has been kidnapped by the don’s man so that Varun follows her and Kher can then make him marry his daughter, Nargis!
Producers: Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor.
Director: David Dhavan.
Cast: Varun Dhawa,Ileana D'Cruz, Nargis Fakhri, Arunoday Singh, Anupam Kher, Evelyn Sharma, Raju Kher.
Anupam is supposed to be sinister, pulling out a gun at the drop of a hat. But for the sake of entertainment, he is more of a caricature, with Saurabh Shukla as his sidekick. As if that were not enough, Arunoday, along with his sidekick, Rajpal, has also followed Varun to Anupam’s den. Varun has ten days to marry Nargis. Meanwhile, he has to pretend to be in love with Nargis while trying to get her out of his hair so he can romance with his true love, Ileana. The only help he has is from lord Ganesh and Jesus Christ, their statues talking back to him. Finally, Nargis finds her true love in Arunoday with some help and prodding from Varun.
While the first half is fun and dance and battles of one-upmanship with Arunoday, the film gathers more pace in second half as more characters are added in the form of Anupam, Saurabh and Nargis. Being a Telugu remake, some aspects may seem farfetched: like the character of Arunoday, a mere inspector who terrorises a girl and her parents as he plans to marry her, that too in a metro like Bengaluru.
David Dhavan directs his son and has rightly chosen to make a light entertainer which usually don’t backfire and fit the slot of a typical David film. As usual, he also does not get carried away with length and restricts the film to 128 minutes. The film has peppy music and provides scope for Varun to showcase his dancing prowess. However, the background score is full of pieces from RD Burman and Bappi Lahiri repertoire. Cinematography is good. Varun has an easy job of playing a carefree young man with the role requiring no drama. But why is he imitating Govinda and Anil Kapoor? Ileana is okay while Nargis has little to do. Anupam and Saurabh are in their element providing much of the fun. Shakti Kapoor in guest role lends his presence.
On the whole, Main Tera Hero is a fair entertainer with a reasonably good opening response. While the T20 may affect its collections on Friday and Sunday (if India qualifies for the finals), in many parts it will have the advantage of Ram Navami and election day holidays.
Jal: Dry run…
Kutch, the deserted district of north-west Gujarat, seems to have become the flavour of the season for both commercial as well as offbeat films. Jal is the latest film based in Kutch, dealing with its water problems. The film is about a clairvoyant who can pinpoint a spot where a well can be dug to find water. Now that Narmada waters have reached far-flung corners of Kutch including the borders manned by the army, the subject may seem a bit out of sync but mattered a lot not very long ago.
Producers: Puneet Singh, Girish Malik, Sumit Kapoor, Yogesh Mittal.
Director: Girish Malik.
Cast: Purab H Kohli, Kirti Kulhari, Saidha Jules, Mukul Dev, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Yashpal
Sharma, Ravi Gossain, Vicky Ahuja.
Purab Kohli is Bakka who is gifted with this instinct of spotting water underground with the help of his two brass sticks. He is right 60 per cent of the time by his own admission and his village counts on him in the absence of an alternative. When he isolates a spot, they just dig! This is his livelihood. On a personal front, Bakka loves the daughter of the mukhiya of the neighbouring village, Kirti Kulhari, with which his village has a running feud because that village has abundant water while his village has no source of water. Bakka is also loved by his best friend’s sister in his own village, Tannishtha Chatterjee.
Things change for Bakka and his villagers when a researcher, Saidha Jules, arrives. She sets up her base on the waterfront where thousands of flamingos arrive each year. Soon she notices that the young ones of these flamingos die because of excess salt content in the water. The salt dries up in their wings rendering them flightless. She realises that sweet water needs to be added to this flow of water. Drilling machines are brought in and spots isolated where water could be found. This also provides labour to villagers who are engaged to take the dug sand away. However, despite the drill and the computer, the team fails to find water.
Bakka’s skills are called upon to identify spots with water. All the three spots he earmarks give water. Bakka becomes a small celebrity and also gets employment from the government. Now the neighbouring village mukhiya is ready to give his daughter to Bakka in marriage. All is going well when his own villagers expect Bakka to borrow the drilling machine from Saidha and her colleague Gary Richardson. But, before he could raise the subject with Saidha she has left having finished her job. Gary also feels he has no use for Bakka now and ignores him. It is while Gary and his team are away that Bakka lures their middleman, Yashpal Sharma, with gold collected from the villagers. But, tragedy strikes, the machine breaks down and all hell breaks loose.
The happy days are over for Bakka. His efforts to manually dig for water fail. The gold is stolen and he is blamed and thrown out of the village along with his heavily pregnant wife. When, finally, good news comes in the form of an article on his skills and a cheque as a reward, Bakka is nowhere around to collect it.
While the first half is light with a lot of bonhomie and humour among the villagers, the second half, especially towards the end, becomes heavy with some forced tragedy. Direction is generally good. Background score as well as the choice of folk songs is effective. The highlight of the film is cinematography by Sunita Radia who captures vast vistas of the desert beautifully while also excelling otherwise. Purab is impressive with another good performance coming from Tannishtha. The rest, cast as village folk are natural.
Jal will find a lot of appreciation from critics as well as on the festival circuit but not find many takers in cinema halls.