Phata Poster Nikhla Hero is the story of Vishwas Rao an aspiring actor who gets mistaken for a cop.
Phata Poster Nikhla Hero is the story of Vishwas Rao an aspiring actor who gets mistaken for a cop. less
“Shahid Kapoor acts well in a film that couldn't decide if it's a comedy or drama. The high points are the filmy references but Phata Poster Nikhla Hero is is brought down due to its over-the-top treatment. Strictly a one time watch.”
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Raj Kumar Santoshi’s Phata Poster Nikhla Hero pits the idea of a protagonist who’s a physically meager simpleton aspiring to be a film star against brawny, moustachioed movie-hero images; with even the plot being fragments of iconic Bollywood films stitched together (Don, Shakti, Munnabhai, Ghajini) with due (and comedic) references to the originals at every step. It doesn’t start out to draw the philosophical implications of the theme (and it doesn’t); it’s the absurdist look at the contrast between the mythic larger-than-life hero personae and a physically and morally weak protagonist that drives the film in its opening portions.
It is, then, a pity that nothing is made of these juicier aspects of the script, probably because the director never seems to be convinced of his vision; and the film settles for a simplistic, kitschy music-video filled and half-baked dramatic resolution. What had set out to be essentially a goofy, half-detached absurdist look at hero-driven cinema ends up following the footsteps of and falling in the trappings of the same.
But that and a useless leading pair aside, the movie features some fine performances from the supporting cast, and there are moments when the film does manage to get garner a chuckle or two. For example, how can one not laugh when the Joint Commissioner of Police (Darshan Jariwala) and the hero’s mother (Padmini Kolhapure), both of whom have been led to believe that the other is mentally ill, throw devious glances at each other; or practically every scene featuring Sanjay Mishra, that one actor in Bollywood who knows how to make fun of himself and pull it off.
A movie that is intentionally & innately silly is a tricky ground. Raj Kumar Santoshi’s own cult classic Andaaz Apna Apna is a testament to the fact that silliness isn’t always a bad thing for a movie to possess. But in Phata Poster Nikhla Hero, the ill-at-home Shahid Kapoor makes such a colossal mess out of his part that it’s almost frustrating to think of the opportunity wasted, imagining what this albeit weak film might have been at the helm of a better performer like, say, a Shah Rukh Khan in his Baadshah mode. Ranbir Kapoor, in Santoshi’s Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, seemed to be reveling in the goofiness of his antics; and it’s pleasing to see an actor have so much fun on screen. Shahid Kapoor, on the other hand, simply doesn’t possess the charm required for such kind of a role and goes all hammer and tongs at us trying embarrassingly hard to prove that he can act silly. That he can alright, but in the earlier Santoshi film the audience laughed with Ranbir Kapoor; here, they laugh at Shahid Kapoor.