So you think Hollywood stars are big? Probably you haven`t been introduced to the world of Bollywood yet, the Indian film industry, where the term “Megastar” is often used and some stars have a large global following. The 70s had greats like Rajesh Khanna, the 80s included Amitabh Bachchan, the 90s saw the rise of the so-called three Khans (Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Amir Khan) and the 00s introduced us to Hrithik Roshan. Now in the 2010s, the Khans (all of them entering their 50s) still rule most of India`s filmindustry with releasing box office smash hits yearly, but in 2014 the world was introduced to Bollywood`s newest promising star: Tiger Shroff.
Heropanti is Shroff`s debute film for which he prepared three years. Because when in Bollywood, one is not expected to just act, but also to be able to sing and dance as well. While critics were mixed about his acting performance, Shroff`s dancing was praised. Indeed, he certainly can dance and his flexibility and martial arts skills are definitely praiseworthy. But then the big question of course remains: what about this debute? Is it any good? Is it good enough to launch the career of a new so-called Bollywood Megastar? Let`s have a look.
“Heropanti” literally means “Hero attitude”, and basically describes Shroff`s character Bablu in two words. It`s the attitude that drives him, makes him fearless and also cocky as hell. As he proclaims himself when people mention him having this hero attitude: “It can`t be helped. Others don`t have it and I can`t lose it”. How`s that for a punchline? As we are used to from other Indian films with male protagonists, he is tough and the ultimate alpha male, but also has a sensitive side that causes him to fall for a gangster`s daughter, Dimpy (played by Kriti Sanon, who is just starting out in the business as well). Dimpy`s older sister has eloped with the man she loves, causing her father (played by Prakash Raj) to go crazy and hunt her down as he forbids love. As the man who eloped with the daughter is Bablu`s friend, the bad guys are of course lead towards Bablu, getting him, and his hero attitude, involved in the whole thing.
Now although the story is so-so, what is definitely the film`s eyecatching element is its stars. Shroff has a very impressive physique and is well gifted in Martial Arts. His flexibilty and strength are well showcased in the film (sadly all in slow motion though), and as mentioned before his dancing skills are just as good. When it comes to the action scenes it is unfortunately kind of a letdown. Slowmo is overused and the scenes are over in a second, leaving you wanting more but not getting anything. The climaxfight is also not climatic at all and basically revolves around showing Shroff`s ripped body while he gives a bad guy a beating. With someone as skilled as Shroff, this feels like a missed opportunity and hopefully will be better explored in his future films.
Next to Shroff is Kriti Sanon as the love interest. She gives a good performance even though her character isn`t any different from the kind of stereotypical lady in distress we have seen before, so sadly she doesn`t really add anything new. Prakash Raj plays the overattached daddy and is very good at giving emotionally distressed (and sometimes disturbed) looks when something happens that doesn`t please him. The character fits this kind of film well and he plays every daughter`s nightmare in an entertaining way. Then there are Bablu`s buddies which serve their purpose in the film, except for the totally unnecessary clumbsy chubby character that suddenly joins the gang out of nowhere and is just there to be chubby cute and “funny” with his line: “What is the position?!” It is a certain level of slapstick that always kind of bothers me as it doesn`t really do the film any good .
But in most Bollywood films everything is exaggerated to a certain point (and in a way, why not? It`s a movie afterall), so most things are mostly larger than life and Heropanti is no exception with this in its over-the-top-ness.
Song and music wise the film doesn`t really stand out but the catchy “Whistle Baja” is one of those melodies that gets stuck in your head (if that`s in a good or bad way is up to you). It is a fun song and it adds to the lightness that carries the film. Because no matter how big the problem or how troublesome the situation, the hero attitude keeps it cool.
So, as a whole, Heropanti is not an amazingly good film, but just entertaining enough to introduce the audience to its new stars. Tiger Shroff has the qualities to make it big and I have a feeling he will be one of India`s biggest stars in a few years time. His second (Baaghi: A Rebel For Love) and third (A Flying Jatt, in which he plays a superhero) film are already in full production and set to be released later this year. Some people weren`t pleased with Shroff`s acting, but I say give him a few more years. He is a rising star, and definitely has the right attitude for it.