By Hindustan Times
Director: Tanveer Khan
Actors: Chirag Paswan, Kangana Ranaut
How many times must a debutant hero emerge from the same screen, to repeatedly announce his arrival: The one here first gets out in slo-mo from a BMW (first shot), then out of a chopper (to meet his mother), on a Lexus convertible (that his mother gifts him), bang in the middle of a wedding dance party (in a village), into the tennis stadium (where he plays the National finals)….
The boy is called Chirag – in life, as in this movie. “Chirag baba” is the oddly uncomfortable, untrained performer, casually low on body movements, high on screen time; he plays a quiet young heir, given to monosyllables and mono-expressions. His father (jaded Kabir Bedi) orders him around in his vineyard. Old man looks like the hammy old-world zamindar.
For the obedient son, the nights belong to floodlit tennis courts, where he practices whacking the tennis racket like a ping pong bat, only backhands, so he can become India No 1 some day: that’s his father’s dream, and his mother’s nightmare.
Excellence at sports is measured on more real, tangible achievements. It’s easy to tell why Sachin Tendulkar is a superstar. He takes care of runs; the runs take care of everything else. Stardom acquired from Indian politics, and cinema (as the hero here seems to be seeking), work differently. Though, in construct, they’re probably both similar to each other.
Firstly, they’re not always based on performance. You could be the world's best actor and yet not make it as a star; most well meaning visionaries may fail at politics. People directly elect their stars, who in turn, play themselves round-the-clock, protecting or perpetuating a particular public image of themselves.
Actor Chirag, I’m told, is the blue-eyed boy of a popular Bihari politician (Ramvilas Paswan). Literally. Unless those are blue contact lenses in his eyes. You can tell why his father must think he could succeed at show business. He has experience at winning elections.
The boy signs land deals, tenders, contracts, in the film. He comes from a super-rich, separated family. The mom (Poonam Dhillon) wants him to date her London buddy's daughter. Their nights out make for lead story on front page of The Times of India. As is everything else they do. Divorced dad wants his boy to marry a pretty Punjabi girl from the pind. That, by the way, is the central conflict in a film also about sport.
Tennis champ “Chirag baba” claims to be in love with a fashion model instead. He’s never quite met her. Daddy, mommy are after this girl. He pays her Rs 20 lakh a day, for 20 days, to carry on with the pretense of being in love with him. That model's Kangna Ranaut. Reports in trade circles suggest she was paid Rs 5 crore to do this movie. Anybody should be.