Heropanti review: Tiger Shroff can pull off stunts, but that's about it
Another star son. Big launch. Action hero. New heroine. Hit songs. The works. Does it work?
The best thing that could be said about Heropanti is that it is not as terrible as Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar films. The second best thing about it is that Tiger Shroff may be effeminate, but he’s a likable guy who can do some truly amazing stunts.
This is where the positive aspects of Heropanti end, because everything else in the movie is a raging river of stupidity. The daughter of a Haryanvi goon (Prakash Raj) runs away with her lover, so the goon decides to kidnap the friends of the lover. One of the friends includes Bablu (Shroff), an ultra muscular head and shoulders model who develops the hots for the goon’s other daughter (Sanon). That, gentlemen, is the entire plot of the film. It all plays out like a screenplay that was deemed ‘just a little too good’ for Akshay or Salman to anchor the thing, and there's very little here that desi masala aficionados haven't seen a thousand times before. As the characters glide through the tedium a bunch of random songs and unrelated plot contortions take place in the background. It all leads up to a finale that offers a few casual fight scenes and a DDLJ homage of a finale that'll have you wondering ‘hmph, ok, what else is on?’
Since this is a Bollywood movie, we’re offered the usual menu of masala – regression, blatant misogyny, brash jokes and awful stereotyping. All of the honchos in Daddy Goon’s North Indian city are abusive, rapey, murdering, honor-killing thugs who treat women like cattle. They also crack jokes like ‘Mai tumhara The End karunga aur phir us ladki ki opening ceremony karunga’. And they threaten by describing their loaded gun as ‘Ye missed call nahi deta, seedha connect karta hai’.
Shroff is thankfully there to balance things out. He’s quite unapologetic about who he is. He makes an entry at a fight scene in a gym. After every kick and punch he looks at the camera and smiles cutely. He rescues an eloped couple, puts them on a bus, and then runs behind the bus fist pumping and screaming ‘haar mat manna, I got you bro’. It’s his sheer sincerity amidst the over the top rubbish that wins you over. Sure, he looks like Kareena Kapoor doing insane kickboxing stunts, and the romance between Shroff and Sanon seems like a desi version of Blue is the Warmest Color, but that doesn’t make him unlikable. He’s a great action hero, the problem is there’s too little action in this film. Team him up with Vidyut Jamwal in a good action movie and we’ll get a genuinely fun ride.
It’s hard to expect a smart female character in film like this, and Sanon is fine in her ludicrous role. But I'd say it's a huge shame to see what's become of Prakash Raj since the past five years. It seems he’s discovered the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory – the template villainous role in Simbly South style Hindi films. He’s no different here, aside from the seriously high octane dose of unintentional hilarity. Some of his emotional scenes are gut busting funny – he bawls loudly on the road with a wine bottle, does the shimmy on a park bench, exaggerates pain by heaving his chest and even delicately places Shroff’s hand on his thigh. So when he asks Shroff ‘Tum me aisa kya hai jo meri beti ko dikhta hai aur mujhe nahi dikhta’, a thunderstorm of laughter erupts in the theatre. I personally can’t wait for his choice clips to be uploaded on YouTube.