By Subhash K. Jha
Film: “Heropanti”; Cast: Tiger Shroff, Kriti Sanon and Prakash Raj; Director: Sabbir Khan; Rating: ***1/2
There’s nothing honorable about honor killing. But by jove, it makes for a terrific story specially when the intention is to weave a genial love story around a serious issue.
In parts, reminiscent of Priyadarshan’s “Rangrezz”, “Heropanti” is an unabashedly straight and schmaltzy launchpad for Tiger Shroff. And he excels in every department. The narrative gets to the point straight away with conversational elan. It’s a gaudy bustling wedding in Haryana where we meet a family of unapologetic ruffians posing as aristocrats.
Director Sabbir Khan, whose debut film “Kambakkht Ishq” gave a new definition to designer-filmmaking, is far more in control of his plot this time. He yanks his city-bred protagonist Babloo (yup, that’s the name our debutant hero is anointed with) out of the gym straight into the rugged hinterland of Haryana where elopement is a dirty word.
The narrative is structured with ample room for conventional elements of formula filmmaking to spill over without causing an excessive deluge of distractions. While the first movement of the plot is baggy and limp around the edges with some of the intended humorous encounters between Babloo and the chirpy Dimpy (she’s the sister of an eloped girl from a conservative family all set to encore the family’s disgrace) falling flat on the face, the second moment packs in a rock-solid punch. And I do mean that, literally.
Tiger Shroff may look like a soft gentle romantic hero. But when push comes to shove(as it often does in the gun-toting badland), he delivers a mean punch. Whether jumping from building to building or wooing the girl with corny courtship lines, there is an easy-going unflappable attitude to this debutant’s on-screen persona, as though to say, there is much more to the movies than just flamboyant machismo.
As the plot progresses and we see Tiger’s character blend almost miraculously into the girl’s hostile family, we realize how cleverly writer Sanjeev Dutta has subverted the “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” plot.
Prakash Raj taking up Amrish Puri’s position in the tale of forbidden love is outstanding in interpreting the bride’s father’s possessive rage and gradual melt-down. He provides a very capable support system to Tiger’s launch missile. Make no mistake.
This is Tiger’s big ticket debut. And boy, does this Tiger burn bright! He emotes, he dances and yes, he can fight. Tiger shares a good chemistry with his cute co-star Kriti Sanon.
Director Sabbir Khan gives the all-rounder hero a curvaceous storyline to peg his skills.
Kriti Sanon is perky and sufficiently spontaneous for her first film. I had a problem with her dangerously low-waist ghagras which just didn’t go with her ultra-conservative family life where voluntary marriages are punishable with death. But a refreshing lack of innuendos in the courtship rituals makes the heroine’s naval-view bearably aesthetic.
“Heropanti” is a full-on ‘paisa vasool’ Sajid Nadiadwala entertainer. It doesn’t quite measure up to the requirements of the theme of honour killing that it so valiantly puts forward. But as a masala entertainer, that has more to say than one would expect from a film of this nature, “Heropanti” gets its fundas right.