Any film that takes a dig at Katrina Kaif’s Hindi can’t be all bad – even if does feature Nargis Fakhri, the latest claimant to Kaif’s throne. Tamil cinema has a thing for casting heroines who don’t look like they’ve ever stepped south of the Vindhyas. Hindi cinema, meanwhile, has a thing for casting heroines who don’t look like they’ve been to India at all. Some of them don’t look like they’ve been to an acting class either. In Rockstar, Fakhri proved she couldn’t do epic romance. In her item number in Phata Poster Nikhla Hero, she proved she couldn’t dance. And now, in Main Tera Hero, she proves she cannot do comedy. She’ll probably end up Aamir Khan’s squeeze in Dhoom 4.
Then again, Main Tera Hero, a remake of the Telugu film Kandireega, doesn’t require much from her. It doesn’t require much from anybody, really, even the audience. This is, in other words, a David Dhawan comedy – and it begins well enough. Seenu (Varun Dhawan) falls for Sunaina (Ileana D’Cruz), not realising that a beefy rogue cop (Arunoday Singh) has his eyes on her too. Meanwhile, Ayesha (Fakhri), has her eyes on Seenu. Till a point. And then, she has her eyes on the beefy rogue cop. And a mute gangster’s sidekick (Saurabh Shula) has his eyes on all of them. It sounds like rollicking fun. But there’s an over-reliance on wordplay and not enough situational humour – the fizz leaks out somewhere in the middle, right around the interval, where Seenu is handed a bowl of popcorn.
Main Tera Hero is only half what it could have been – still, that isn’t a bad half. The film has a solid comic cast – Saurabh Shukla, Rajpal Yadav, Manoj Pahwa, and Anupam Kher, who plays a gangster whose words tend to echo. (The reason made me giggle for a good two minutes.) And Varun Dhawan, inheriting the kind of role Govinda did and Salman Khan did (before he discovered barbells) in the old David Dhawan comedies, gives an admirably energetic performance. He bobs on a diving board. He shimmies down a pillar. He almost falls on goons out to get him and steadies himself just in time. He bounces about like a rubber ball. My favourite scene was the one where he hands over his shirt to Sunaina, walks down the stairs topless, and then faces her stupefied parents. Can he do other things? Can he act with his shirt on? Can he do drama? Those questions can wait. For now, it’s enough that he’s an instinctive comedian. He makes us feel we’re more entertained than we actually are. In these films, that’s what being a hero is all about.
* Main Tera Hero = I’m your man
* her item number in Phata Poster Nikhla Hero = see here
Copyright ©2014 Baradwaj Rangan. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.