Critic's Rating: 19/5
Friday 10 August 2001
HERA PHERI, directed by Priyadarshan is full of surprises. It`s surprisingly cute and the lead actors, more known for their wooden expressions than any actual histrionics, actually act in this movie. And not just act, their comic timing is perfectly in tune.
As for Priyadarshan, the ?intense? director of films like Virasat and Kala Paani pulls off a caper film with verve and elan.
Welcome then to the hovel like home of Paresh Rawal, which adjoins his garage. He takes in two tenants Sunil Shetty and Akshay Kumar who can?t stand each other. They differ on everything and, in fact, it is their constant brawling and one upmanship that keep the first half of the movie moving ahead.
The two are regular very average kind of guys, a trait that makes them not only easily identifiable with but watchable too.
Another comic element is added by Paresh Rawal`s phone?s ringing constantly for an industrialist because of a faulty listing, till one day the caller is from Amman who has kidnapped the industrialist?s grand daughter. Seizing their big chance to lay their hands on some money the three double the amount and ask for a ransom from the industrialist intending to keep half of it.
But they bungle the job like the losers they are.
Meanwhile the past catches with the three of them. Akshay has been hiding his poverty from his mother and has boasted that he has a bungalow. She now wants to know why they can?t shift into it. Sunil has promised his dear friend Tabu that he will pay off her debts and Paresh Rawal wants to pay off his father`s loans before he dies.
Partly for the sake of money and partly because they have endangered the kidnapped girl?s life by botching her rescue they try once again. When they succeed, you can?t help but cheer for them.
They are so earnest and yet so hopelessly incompetent, they arouse your protective instinct. Liberally laced with humour both in the situations and in the dialogue Hera Pheri is that rare film that makes you laugh aloud and not with embarrassment.
Priyadarshan?s handling of the material is consistently light. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the songs. While the music is nothing to get excited about the picturisation too looks a little forced. In fact some songs, like the one in which Namrata Shirodkar makes a guest appearance can easily be done away with.
Priyadarshan?s real achievement is the performance he has extracted from Akshay and Sunil. Tabu has almost nothing to do. Paresh Rawal as the Maharashtrian hick is delightful. Om Puri?s performance as the sardarji, to whom Sunil Shetty owes money to, is excellent.
Though the film has so much going for it the fortunes of its director and both lead actors Sunil Shetty and Akshay Kumar are at an all time low.
The three have had a dozen flop films in recent times behind them. A pity, because the film is well worth a visit specially if comedy and caper are your thing.