Subhash Ghai’s ‘Hero’ catapulted Jackie Shroff and Meenakshi Sheshadri to stardom. The highly entertaining romantic drama is remembered for the performance of its lead actors, a melodious soundtrack by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, and a generous dose of action that complemented the film. Thirty years later, ‘Hero’ resurfaces but in a new avatar. Director Nikhil Advani’s reboot of Ghai’s cult classic serves as the launchpad for Sooraj Pancholi (son of Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab) and Athiya Shetty (daughter of Suneil Shetty and Mana Shetty). With some well-designed promos, good music, and backing by Salman Khan, one expects a good entertainer in the offering.
Sooraj (Sooraj Pancholi) is a Robinhood-like character who engages himself in unscrupulous activities but gives away the money to people who are in need of it. Radha (Athiya Shetty) is the daughter of the Inspector General (IG) of Police (Tigmanshu Dhulia). Her brother (Sharad Kelkar), too, is a Police Officer. Radha is asked to move around with a bunch of policemen for security purposes as his father fears her being attacked by Pasha (Aditya Pancholi) who is in prison and has been accused of killing a journalist. Pasha, who is like a father figure to Sooraj, asks him to kidnap Radha so that he could put pressure on the IG to release him. Sooraj and his men disguise themselves as policemen and take Radha to a far-off place on the pretext of security reasons. Sparks fly between them and before they could confess their feelings for each other, the police trace them. Sooraj successfully manages to escape with Radha but injures himself severely in the process. After being treated by some monks at a monastery, Sooraj decides to break the truth to Radha and let her go.
The basic plot of ‘Hero’ is similar to that of the original. A few episodes from the 1983 film are missing and a few additions have been made. The film is filled with a lot of drama but there are sequences in which you feel the director goes overboard with it. The characterization of the characters is far from being impressive. The character of Pasha seems ill-written. While the intention was to probably create a grey-shaded character, one does not find a character likable that is shown to have killed innocent people. Sooraj’s transformation from a street goon to a civilized man has not been depicted properly. Radha’s character, too, comes across as half-baked. The comic track involving BBM (Suresh Menon) is cringe-worthy.
The film takes a very predictable route and does not throw up any major surprise. Having said that, the film bears a stylish look throughout and the director has made it with a certain finesse that makes it engaging for most of its part. Nikhil succeeds in giving a contemporary touch to the plot and composes some stunning frames that make the film a visual delight. Even the ones who have not seen the original, would not find it difficult to foresee what is coming. But, apart from a few dull moments, the film packs in some good entertainment.
Sooraj Pancholi has a certain vulnerability that makes him very likable. He is good but struggles with his expressions in a few dramatic scenes. Athiya Shetty might not have a striking screen presence but she pulls off a fairly confident act. Aditya Pancholi gets to play an ill-written role but manages to impress with his towering presence. Vivaan Bhatena is very impressive in his villainous act. He commands a strong screen presence and acts well. Tigmanshu Dhulia plays a stereotypical role and gets to mouth some jaded dialogues but his performance is good. Sharad Kelkar is effective as the supportive brother to the heroine. Chetan Hansraj makes an impact in a brief role. Anita Hassanandani, Preeti Mamgani, Anil Verma, Ashish Verma, Trishaan, and Randeep Jha lend effective support.
Nikhil Advani does not disappoint as a director. His direction is good right from the start to the end. The film would have come out better with a much better screenplay though. Subhash Ghai’s story is reworked by Umesh Bist. While certain additions in the screenplay are good, some of them are not up to the mark. The dialogues (Umesh Bist) could have been far more impactful. The music (Amaal Malik, Sachin-Jigar, Jassi Katyal and Meet Bros. Anjjan) is very good. The theme music that is heard at several points in the film helps in elevating the drama. The background score (Sandeep Shirodkar) is good. The action sequences (Ravi Verma, Dave Judge, and Amin Arif) have been well choreographed. Tushar Kanti Ray’s eye-filling camerawork is one of the major assets of the film. The editing (Ritesh Soni) is razor-sharp.
The comparisons between the original and the remake are inevitable. In that respect, ‘Hero’ does not match up to the original. The screenplay lacks novelty and could have been far more exciting. But, some splendid direction by Nikhil Advani, good music, engaging action sequences and a touch of old-school storytelling make for an entertaining affair.