Cast: Ashok Galla, Jagapathi Babu and others
Director: Sriram Adittya
Run-time: 130 minutes
‘Hero’ is a self-aware mindless entertainer. Its oddball humour is designed to make the audience laugh out loud without worrying about the protagonist’s insecurities, fears, and anxieties. There is a love story, but you can’t care less about it. The actual ‘love story’ is between a wannabe actor and his accidental tryst with the silver screen. The trajectory of ‘Hero’ is unpredictable.
If the film under review comes across as over-the-top, it’s because it’s meant to be over-the-top. A lot of apparently frivolous scenes are a tribute to the Telugu cinema universe. The characters emotionally invoke big names like Mahesh Babu and Pawan Kalyan and Chiranjeevi in unlikely scenes. On the surface, the tributes seem to play to the gallery. But if you care to think about it, the references to the matinee idols are purposive.
The film begins with a dream sequence where Arjun (debutant Ashok Galla is flexible and shows promise) is a cowboy and his father (VK Naresh) is a badass bandit. His doting mother is conveniently a victim given to introducing her son with a bang. The staging is smart and sets the tone for a comedy of errors and spoofs.
Arjun’s dream is to become a Telugu cinema superstar. In the meantime, he whiles away his time with his neighbourhood girlfriend Subhadra (Nidhhi Agerwal), whose father (Jagapathi Babu) has a hidden past in Mumbai. Arjun’s biggest worry right now is not that he is not landing a film offer. It’s that he and his friend (comedian Satya) have gotten hold of a dangerous pistol, thanks to a misdelivered parcel.
The screenplay ties various threads in the second half. Although the narration does get somewhat needlessly convoluted here and there, ‘Hero’ quickly plays to its strengths.
There is a stretch involving Brahmaji, who plays a middle-aged, over-confident, parodic mass cinema hero. Had ‘Hero’ been released before the arrival of ‘Akhanda’, the spoof on film director Boyapati Srinu would have been spot-on and curious. Vennela Kishore plays the character of a snake oil merchant with ease. Ajay and Satyam Rajesh are good, while Naresh’s reaction in the pre-climax phase to a flashback is a riot.
Ghibran’s BGM takes in the flamboyant, sometimes deliberately exaggerated flavour of the screenplay. The song that comes after the climax is whistle-worthy, with its choreography and editing being its stand-out features. The visuals are adequate.
If you watch ‘Hero’ with the expectation that it’s a facetious crime comedy and an unabashed mindless entertainer, you won’t be disappointed.
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Watch our interview with Ashok Galla and Nidhhi Agerwal below: