The trailer was great fun, so we were looking forward to seeing the entire film and the hijinks that Shahid and Ileana D’Cruz got up to, but were left short of being entertained
Shahid Kapoor certainly had a lot of hope riding on his new film Phata Poster Nikla Hero. So did I, until that moment when he actually appeared onscreen. Was I disappointed? Not totally, but PPNH isn’t exactly the ‘comeback’ we expected after his last dud, Teri Meri Kahani, co-starring Priyanka Chopra. So, there you see Shahid as Vishwas Rao, a wannabe Bollywood actor obsessed with the Dabangg Salman Khan. He travels to Mumbai to make it big in tinseltown. First by chance and then by design he becomes a corruption fighting cop, which helps him not only fulfil his mother Savitri’s (Padmini Kolhapure) dreams, but also helps him win the love of his life, Ileana. However, Vishwas’ bluff is called when his mother learns the truth about her son and his ambitions to become an actor.
While Shahid manages to show off glimpses of his talent – for acting, we mean – in some scenes, especially when he tries to convince a filmmaker that he can act, it is Sasha as a mimic who is more strong in Phata Poster.… He entertains with his dialogue delivery, dances like a crazy man, delivers dialogues with panache…but fails to tickle that oh-so-important funny bone.
Director Rajkumar Santoshi disappoints. Not only does this film carry the hangover of his last hit with Ranbir Kapoor-Katrina Kaif, Ajab Prem ki Gazab Kahani, but also seems like Santoshi has sought inspiration from David Dhawan’s mindless comedies and Abhinav Kashyap’s Dabangg, especially in the action scenes. The filmmaker uses a half baked, done-to-death plot where even the romance between the film’s lead pair fizzles due to a lack of build-up. The chemistry between Shahid and Ileana is almost non-existent. Ileana was promising in Barfi!, but she isn’t impressive as ‘Complaint Kajal’ – blame it on her bad dialogue delivery or the director’s caricaturish presentation of the film’s characters. Darshan Jariwala (as Commissioner of Police) and Sanjay Mishra (as Guruji) are good, but haven’t been properly used. Saurabh Shukla is wasted, but Salman Khan’s guest appearance is perfectly set into the movie.
The film’s music is impressive and its saving grace; however, the picturisation harks back to that of Ajab Prem…, whether it is the Agal bagal song that has shades of Prem ki nayya or Mere bina tu, modelled on Tu jaane na. We have to wonder if Santoshi is sticking to a set pattern or some kind of formula, because the film lacks surprises – so much so that even the twists are predictable. Nargis Fakhri’s item song is a jump in the bumpy flow. Is this a film made in the factory of a man who gave us cult comedy like in Andaz Apna Apna? We expected more, or at least something different, for sure.
Shahid Kapoor looks great, especially in a cop avatar – he can be tough competition for Salman Khan and is perfect hero material, but as an actor this isn’t his best work. But it is an indication of a possible new career for the actor who doesn’t seem to be able to find his filmi groove these days – if PPNH fails to bring the very good looking Shahid Kapoor back into the race for best actor title, he could always host a stand-up comedy show or even a little hatke mimicry event or four. SK’s diehard fans might not object to latest movie. But we are not thrilled with it and you may not be either. Our suggestion: treat this one like a Govinda film – a no-brainer – and have fun. Or else watch The Lunchbox.
2.5 out of 5 stars
Read review on bollywoodlife.com where it was first published
Watch the trailer: