By Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama News Network
Jog your memory a bit. Samir Karnik's first two movies [KYUN HO GAYA NA, NANHE JAISALMER] have been critical and commercial disasters. But Samir has assembled an impressive cast for his new outing HEROES. The billboards look really impressive. You think, chalo, dekhte hain, will Samir deliver this time? Will his fortunes change for better? Come to think of it, you saunter into the auditorium with zilch expectations. HEROES is an underdog.
Before we delve any further, let's clear a few misconceptions pertaining to this film. Just because the promos highlight the men in uniform, it doesn't mean HEROES is a 'war film'. Sure, it talks about love for the nation, but HEROES is not anti-Pakistan, is not jingoistic either, is nowhere close to BORDER, LOC and the likes, in terms of content.
HEROES talks about a journey undertaken by two boys and the three letters they've to deliver to the families of the deceased. HEROES is more of an emotional experience, how each family copes with life after their beloved has become a martyr.
Besides evoking strong emotions, HEROES also arouses strong patriotic feelings. There're moments in the film that compel you to salute those who guard our nation, so that we can sleep in peace. At the end, the message it delivers is simple -- You don't have to be a soldier to love your country.
Back to the two pertinent questions we raised at the outset. Question 1, Does Samir deliver? HEROES is a revelation. Cinema is all about narrating stories and Samir proves that he's a proficient storyteller. Question 2, will he prove lucky this time? Well, HEROES has all it takes to strike a chord, with family audiences mainly. The moments linger in your memory much after the show has concluded.
Final verdict? HEROES salutes the heroes who guard our nation. It's a powerful film. A moving experience!
HEROES is the story Sammy [Sohail Khan] and Ali [Vatsal Sheth] who travel a thousand miles to deliver three letters as a part of their film school assignment. But little do they know that the journey they have embarked upon will give a new meaning to their life.
HEORES unfolds in three chapters. But before that you get to see the wild side of two misled youth who don't take life seriously. The first chapter, Salman-Preity, is the highpoint of the film. The emotional moments in this chapter are worth applauding. Note the moments between Salman-Preity and also between the kid [Dwij Yadav] and the two youth. The scene at the Indo-Pak border -- the fence dividing the two nations -- is amazing. Watch Preity missing her husband and also embracing his uniform. Another brilliant stroke! This chapter deserves a 10 on 10 for its high emotional quotient and captivating performances.
Chapter 2 is slightly less impactful than Chapter 1. The portions between Sunny and Bobby are well executed, but the writing isn't as compelling. Yet, the fight sequence -- when a group of hooligans act smart with Sunny's girlfriend [Hrishitaa Bhatt] -- is superb. Sunny's 'dhai kilo ka haath' and the way it shatters the tiles on the floor leaves a strong impact. Watch this sequence with the masses and you'd only hear whistles and claps. Another scene from this chapter -- Sunny paying his last respects to Bobby -- is moving.
The third chapter [Mithun, Dino] is the softest link. Nothing wrong with the writing or its execution, but something is missing, the pace suddenly dips. The match in the end works mainly because it has been edited well.
Samir Karnik takes giant strides as a storyteller. Binod Pradhan and Gopal Shah's cinematography is top notch. The DOPs have done complete justice to the panoramic locales of North India. Sajid-Wajid's music is a major asset. 'Mannata' is the pick of the lot. What a soothing composition! Ditto for 'Makhana' [filmed on Sunny, Bobby]. Dialogues are magnificent at places.
The ones who leave the maximum impression in this multi-starrer are, in this order, Salman [superb; one of his finest works], Preity [outstanding; has spoken Punjabi so fluently], Sohail [pleasant surprise; evolving into a very fine actor], Sunny [very likeable] and Mithun Chakraborty [mature]. Bobby is effective in a cameo. Wish he would've got more footage. Vatsal Seth is decent. Dino is just about okay. Dwij Yadav is first-rate. Prateeksha Lonkar is fair. Amrita Arora and Ria Sen are passable.
On the whole, HEROES is a genuinely well-made film with strong emotions as its trump card. At the box-office, the pre-Diwali dull phase notwithstanding, it has the merits to climb the ladder with a strong word of mouth. The film deserves to be tax-exempted for its noble theme and noble intentions.
Bollywood.com Rating: 3