Hero - A message movie masquerading as a superhero flick!
Is Hero a superhero film? Well, most Indian action films are superhero films by default. The only difference in films that are marketed as superhero films is that the hero would be a masked crusader. Well, this is true in a sense even with Hollywood films of this genre. But the biggest power of our Indian superheroes is something that is very difficult to comprehend and concerns this masked crusader scenario. Take Hero itself for example. Sakthi ( Sivakarthikeyan ) wears a mask that is barely bigger than goggles but even his father cannot recognise him. If this isn't superpower then what is?
The core of Hero speaks about something very important - The Indian education system. In a sense, Hero wants to convey the same message that a '3 idiots' did. Let a child explore and find out what he or she is good at and education is supposed to be an enabler for this.
Hero starts really well. The initial portions set in 1998 are actually an antithesis to the concept of the superhero and the general vibe of the film is one that promises something. Cut to the present day and we have the formulaic hero intro song followed by some generic romance. But the good thing is that despite being formulaic there is some thought that has gone into creating these characters. The hero is a fraudster making a living out of making fake certificates. The heroine makes motivational talks about dealing with the pressure of exams. So atleast there is something that relates these characters to the subject of education that the film wants to talk about.
Before we realize, the film is very much into the Shankar zone and we have a powerful villain who crushes any idea (and the people behind it) that could pose a threat to the current mundane education system. Abhay Deol looks menacing and makes an impact in this role that is actually nothing much to write about. Hero gets almost everything right leading upto the interval point. The emotional connect happens despite the scenes being a tad over the top and the reveal before the interval is a nice little stretch. The heroism too is absent or nicely underplayed till now.
Post intermission, Hero as a film is loaded with dialogues and action sequences. The innovativeness that we eagerly anticipated never comes to the forefront. It all happens too easily. A superhero suit is all that is needed to bring down a powerful villain who moves from being ahead of everything to being utterly clueless. Few melodramatic stretches are badly staged and border on being cringeworthy. There is nothing remotely interesting about how the hero brings down the villain and this was the biggest disappointment for me in the film. Moreso because this is a film that has an interesting core of what if Rancho from '3 idiots' could also double up as 'Kicha' from Gentleman.
The core message of the film is very much in the trailer itself. So when a lot of scenes in the second half are loaded with dialogues that do the same but with very little emotional connect, Hero ends up being more of a lecture than the superhero film that I had anticipated it to be.
For a film that wants to deliver messages, I wasn't particularly happy with a dialogue that has a character remark that most seats in colleges are filled by merit and quota and the management can make money only out of the remaining seats. Does this imply that merit and quota ( as in reservation) are two completely different entities?
An interesting premise and a very good build up to the rise of the superhero. But then Hero flatters to decieve in its final leg.