Hero movie review: Sivakarthikeyan takes a detour from romantic comedies but film isn't thoroughly convincing

Overall, director PS Mithran has given a neat commercial entertainer, which also calls for a rethink of our educational policy.

Sreedhar Pillai December 20, 2019 12:01:16 IST

3/5

Sivakarthikeyan has gone for a change of his template mass-star image with Hero, directed by PS Mithran. The director has made it a more serious message-oriented high-concept vigilante superhero film with local sentiments.

Hero movie review Sivakarthikeyan takes a detour from romantic comedies but film isnt thoroughly convincing

Sivakarthikeyan in a still from Hero. YouTube

The film dwells on the failure of our education system, and makes 'cinematic' suggestions to rectify it. Interestingly, it works to a certain extent as the subject is topical and relevant. 

The core theme of Hero is an extension of director Shankar’s debut film Gentleman (1993), where Arjun played the title role. If Gentleman talked about the corrupt educational system with its capitation fees and reservation issues, Hero is all about intellectual property theft, brain drain, and the control of educational corporates over the system.

In fact, Hero looks like a sequel to Gentleman, with Arjun, the hero of the Shankar superhit moving into a senior role, almost playing an older version of the same character. Mithran even has a dialogue in the film that a 'gentleman' alone cannot save our corrupt educational system, the need of the hour is a 'hero.' 

Shakthi (Sivakarthikeyan) was a brilliant student and district topper but owing to certain emotional circumstances, he could not complete his higher studies. He had to sell his ‘degree certificate’ and make money for his father’s life-saving operation. Now, he makes living by selling fake degrees and is a 'fixer,' who can get you admission into any professional college in Chennai. An educationalist with international links and solid political contact, Mahadev (Abhay Deol) is the kingpin who runs the education system with an iron hand. Shakthi meets with Meera (Kalyani Priyadarsan), a motivational speaker who brings about a change in his life.  

One day, a girl Mathi (Ivana), a friend of Meera, whom Shakthi considers like his sister, leads him to Sathyamoorthy (Arjun). Master, as he is known among the students, is running a 'secret' campus which is trying to tinker with traditional educational system and bring about a change. The master wants to create a new ecosystem that relies on innovation and disruptive thinking. Suddenly, Mahadev comes to know about a brain wave idea of Mathi, which will spell trouble for his empire, and frames her in a 'patent' case. Disgraced and humiliated, Mathi commits suicide, which leads to Shakthi teaming up with Master, who makes him a 'superhero' in their fight against Mahadev.

The first half of the film is lighthearted but the pace slows down in the second half, and becomes preachy with long-drawn speeches on the educational system. Sivakarthikeyan turns into a superhero in only the last 20 minutes of the two-hour-44-minute film. At times, there is confusion whether it is a superhero movie or a message film. Technically, the film looks slick, with excellent camera work by George C Williams.

Arjun is subtle in his role as Master, while Sivakarthikeyan is an altogether different avatar, from his usual comedy and romance roles. Thank god there is no unwanted comedy scenes thrust into the narration. Kalyani makes a cute debut in Tamil with perfect dialogue delivery. Abhay, as the antagonist, is impressive in the beginning but like all villains, fades out in the end.  On the whole, Mithran has given a neat commercial entertainer, which also calls for a rethink of our educational policy.

Rating: ***

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