Movie Review: Phata Poster Nikhla Hero

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Director: Rajkumar Santoshi

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Ileana D’cruz, Padmini Kolhapure and Darshan Jariwala

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Mumbai: Phata Poster Nikhla Hero looks like director Raj Kumar Santoshi’s vehicle to ensure Shahid Kapoor is able to woo the masses a la Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar. The young actor attempts to be a bit dabangg and a bit rowdy like Rathore. To his credit his two bits are largely successful especially in the first half, which is hilarious and fun up to the interval point.

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The film details the story of Vishwas Rao (Shahid Kapoor), a wannabe actor from a small town who is mistaken to be a brave and fearless cop in urban Mumbai. One case of mistaken identity leads to confusion (read some slapstick comedy) and several twists and turns right till the prolonged climax. The film which makes you laugh generously with its wise-cracks up to the interval point slackens in the second half and then picks up at the tempo at places and then dips again and then you laugh again.

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Somehow the film slipping into emotional-sentimental and tear-jerking territory once Shahid’s mother (Padmini Kolhapure) comes to know of his bluff  is not as effortless as its zany, insane, fun parts where all is well in Vishwas Rao’s world.

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Director Santoshi parodies his own films such as Ghayal and Andaz Apna Apna and some others, having you crack up at the tried and tested formulas of Bollywood movies. The dialogue written by him is funny, smart and laced with chutzpah and has you in splits with lines like jis tarah family ka doctor is family doctor, I am the gang doctor.

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Shahid, as always, is fabulous in the dance numbers. He brings a rumbustious energy into the songs especially the number Tu mere agal bagal. His comic timing is terrific. If, as he has said, only copied director Santoshi in the film who enacted the scenes for him, then he’s done a pretty good job of it. The last time Shahid seemed so likeable was when he did Jab We Met.

Padmini Kolhapure does justice to her role of her mother wanting to see her son become an honest cop. Saurabh Shukla as one of the dons is effective. Nargis Fakhri as an item girl is completely forgettable. Ileana D’cruz playing a social worker looks pretty in a few songs. She doesn’t have much to do.

Salman Khan, in his cameo steals the show when he shows up on the screen for less than a minute, poking fun at himself, his movies and Aamir Khan, his friend and colleague from Andaz Apna Apna which was directed by Santoshi himself.

Santoshi as writer, director and the dialogue writer is in good form. He would have been terrific if could have captured your interest in the same way as he did in the first half of the film.  Still, the film is worth more than a few laughs. More because of the way the director spoofs Bollywood’s tried and tested conventions and the jokes he cracks at the expense of an industry he is only too familiar with.

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