It is the Diwali weekend and I decided to bunk office and head for the FDFS* of Heroes without any knowledge, hype, or expectations from the film. Just the previous day, I saw Taran Adarsh’s take on it [he seemed to have liked it], but if you know his reviews as well as I do then you know they’ve got to be taken with a pinch of salt. I honestly was not expecting a crowd at Ramakrishna Gliterrati, but I was delighted to see a crowd, a HOUSE-FULL board, and black tickets being sold [Rs. 40 ka Rs.100]. I guess the hero-like star-cast including Salman Khan brought in the crowds. This is the first sign that a film has the potential to deliver. As the film rolled, my wife and I enjoyed, wept, and felt a sense of pride for our armed forces and realized that along with the officers, their families are heroes too.
Sammy aka ‘Saand’ [Sohail Khan] and Ali aka ‘Nawab Saab’ [Vatsal Seth] are best buddies having a blast as graduates of the Film Academy. Their blast includes [failed] attempts to seduce their girlfriends, being strippers at all-girls birthday parties, drinks, bindaas attitude etc. As expected, Sammy and Ali fail their course and are asked to finish an independent film project in order to get a degree. In their farewell pool-party one of their friends suggests they do a film on the armed forces of India. Sammy, Ali, and all the other yuppy youth around ridicule the idea saying that there is no security of life, it is torture for families, low pay etc. Sammy and Ali then decide that they do a project about why not to join the armed forces of India. Their girl friend puts them on to IBN 7’s war journalist [Mohnish Behl] who gives them three undelivered letters that he collected during his research [the film opens with these war scenes in Kargil] that need to given back to the surviving family members. The boys are asked to give them back and record their experiences. Thus, begins their journey on a cool Bajaj bike with all camping gadgets to different parts of India and through this journey their life, experiences, and priorities change.
They first go to Punjab to meet Balkar Singh’s [Salman Khan] family where they see his wife Priety Zinta, thier son Jassi, and their family. Next, they go to visit Vikram Shergil [Sunny Deol] to give his brother’s [Bobby Deol] letter. Next is Sahil Naqui’s house to give his letter to his parents where the father, Dr. Naqvi [Mithun Chakravarthy] is in denial about his son’s death. At each place, Saand and Nawab Saab spend a few days, record, and learn a few things about life, honor, respect, pride, love, duty, responsibility and family. There is comedy, sentiment, and emotion, though the latter two dominate. Each episode and the instances of the episode slowly and steadily bring about a change in the two guys and at the end they realize the importance of being in the armed forces. Following the are highlight scenes that received maximum response in the theater:
(1) Jassi, Salman and Priety’s son, tells the two guys that he too wants to join the army like his father. ma khud ka khayal kar sakti hai, main desh ka raksha karunga…
(2) The scene where Jassi puts up his father shirt and salutes it followed by his mother hugging it [highly emotional scene].
(3) The shot where while flying the kites, Saand and Nawab Saab stumble upon the India-Pakistan border with green fields on either side.
(4) The fight sequence with Sunny Deol on the wheelchair and on the floor. Full mass-massala fight sequence.
(5) The self-realization shot of Saand when he too like, Balkar Singh, rolls up his pants, enters the chilled waters and catches a fish with his bare hands!—superb shot!
(6) Jassi grows up to look like his father and as Salman Khan meets the two guys after several years to give passes to the army parade. There was pandemonium [Salman still commands craze among the masses] in the theater as Salman Khan’s [tired and stressed out] face is revealed towards the climax as Jassi.
(7) The dhaba scene where Saand questions the server boy if he cleaned the plate with his underwear?! And ends up liking the smell when the server boy really cleans it with his underwear!
In addition, there are several scenes that are emotional and will make you weep with pride and love for the families that have seen their loved ones give away their life in the army, navy, and air force. It makes you salute those families that have sent their loved ones into the armed forces to protect the nation. Without a doubt, the film makes you feel patriotic and the best part is it does not cater to routine and typical dialogues about enemies, there is no anti-Pakistan sentiment, no terrorist lingo. Most movies take us directly in to the battleground to show the valor of the amred forces, but Heroes looks at it from the side of families and thus it is high on the emotional quotient. To balance this, we have two youngsters, just like most of us, to whom most of this will be alien or sometimes even too idealistic and lack pragmatism. [SPOILERS AHEAD] The climax of the film is sensible. Saand and Nawab Saab try for the army twice, but fail then they put up their own school in an attempt to serve their mother land. The best thing about the film is that it is not spoiled by love stories of the lead actors.
The performances are first rate. So far I only saw Sohail Khan make an ass and a fool of himself, but in this film he is a revelation!...his expressions, body language, comedy timing, and even the crying is good! Sunny Deol as usual is cool and you can’t but feel that Sunny Deol type mass-action hero is badly needed in Bollywood! Bobby Deol fails to impress. Mithun is first rate. Riya Sen looks her usual self in a song. The songs could have been better and it would only have helped the film. Out of the three episodes, the first is the best and the third is not as good. Somehow I felt that perhaps the story could have been more creative or innovative. The director gets too involved in delivering a knock-out emotional punch that other aspects of the story might have been affected. If you are not much into senti-emotional movies then this one might not catch your attention and neither is this a fast-paced army action thriller, but still it is a good film with its heart in the right place.
Mr. Inkenti’s Movienomics Verdict: One Thumb Up! Definitely not the Deepawali fire-cracker type masala entertainer. High on emotions, but go watch it.
*FDFS–First Day First Show