Critic's Rating: 17/5
Thursday 17 April 2003
Sunny Deol, Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra
The Hero - Yet another anti-Pak flick
Time Movies? The Hero is a spy thriller. Army intelligence officer Arun (Sunny Deol) is assigned the tough task of exposing the ISI of Pakistan, which is creating trouble and terror in Kashmir. With his team and a Kashmiri shepherd girl (Preity Zinta), he manages to break the wall insulating the ISI. But while he loses the shepherd girl, with whom he was to be married, he succeeds in his mission to wipe out the terrorists. After a virtual blood bath, he also reunites with his love.
The first half has four or five highlight sequences, the best among them being the one in which the shepherd girl?s lady boss saves her from being stripped to the skin by the terrorists. That sequence will bring the house down with thunderous applause. The scene in which the army officer saves the shepherd girl from terrorists in the jungle is another surefire clap-trap. The engagement song (Dil mein hai pyar) is yet another high point of the film. The catastrophe that strikes soon after the song and the devastation that follows is unbelievably spectacular and that being the interval point, it raises hopes of an even more engaging and exciting second half.
But alas! The expectations are belied as the drama deteriorates after interval. Too many cinematic liberties, too much emphasis on technology, and army officer Arun being shown to be a super-intelligent and super-strong technical wizard rob the film of its inherent emotional appeal of the first half.
The comedy track, which starts off well in the beginning, has been sacrificed as the film moves ahead. How the relationship between the army officer and the doctor-girl (Priyanka Chopra) develops in Canada is just not explained. But worse that that is showing the army officer getting married to the doctor even though he is convinced that his fianc?e (Preity Zinta) must be alive somewhere. This act of the army officer lowers his character and does not befit a hero. Dialogues are clapworthy at places.
Sunny Deol lives the character of the army officer and delivers yet another riveting performance, never once going overboard. However, it must be said, the masses will miss glimpses of his physique and muscles as he wears suits in keeping with his character, instead of the more desirable vests and singlets. Preity Zinta is splendid as the Kashmiri shepherd girl. She looks cute and endears herself in light scenes. Priyanka Chopra looks quite nice and makes a fair debut. She gets very little scope to emote. Amrish Puri fails to strike terror in the minds of the viewers, if only because he doesn?t have the desired scenes. His characterisation (sometimes intelligent, sometimes duffer) is inconsistent. His performance is good as usual. Kabir Bedi is required to look suave, which he does. But he is hardly menacing. Rajpal Yadav is excellent and he should?ve been used more advantageously. Khalid Mohammed is quite effective. Deep Dhillon is fairly good. Rajat Bedi looks imposing. Parvin Dabas leaves a mark in a brief and not-so-important role. Shahbaaz Khan, Arif Zakaria and Vallabh Vyas stand out among the rest with interesting performances.
Anil Sharma?s direction ranges from the excellent to the mediocre. Uttam Singh?s music is yet another letdown. In mast nigahon se has tremendous lyrical appeal. Camerawork (Kabir Lall) is extraordinary and enhances the grandeur of the film. Production values are very grand. Computer graphics are truly terrific. Editing (Suresh Urs) is crisp. Sets (Sanjay Dhabade) are eye-filling. Action (Allan Amin) is first-rate.
On the whole, The Hero, with its good first half, excellent interval point but weak second half, remains a below-average fare. Considering the high price at which it has been sold, it should prove safe or, at best, fetch commission in a couple of circuits like Bombay and Delhi-U.P only.