Hunterrr review: The movie is a funny sex comedy with a botched up ending

The biggest takeaway from Hunterrr is that Deviah is far greater than this film, and he certainly deserves better stories. As do we.

Mihir Fadnavis March 23, 2015 07:20:54 IST
Hunterrr review: The movie is a funny sex comedy with a botched up ending

Sex comedies have done well in India lately, thanks to comedic masterpieces like Kya Super Kool Hai Hum and Grand Masti. They’re made at moderate to tiny budgets and lapped up by the biggest filmgoer demographic in India – the lowest common denominator aam aadmi who chuckles at naughty wordplay and the slightest reference to female anatomy. Even originality doesn’t matter – an SMS forward can get the box office registers ringing.

With this sort of a background, the prospects for the new sex comedy, Hunterrr looked slim. The good news is that Hunterrr is very far away from the likes of Grand Masti – it is an infinitely better film, without the tacky visuals and sounds found in the genre. It’s also a refreshingly offbeat film, both in terms of craft and storytelling. The film is the commercial Bollywood version of Steve McQueen’s Shame, but more on that later.

Directed by debutant Harshavardhan Kulkarni, Hunterrr is presented in a non-linear fashion, shuffling across time like a pack of cards. We’re introduced to Mandar Ponkshe (Gulshan Devaiah), in his mid-30s and a compulsive tharki spotting a young girl at a bar, trying to chat up with her and getting thrown out of said bar. The film then takes us back to Mandar’s roots, his childhood and the origin of his tharki-ness. Mandar breaks hearts, scores chicks, rinses and repeats. It’s predictable, but mostly fun because of the surprisingly mature direction and tone.

Hunterrr is often funny too – there’s a hilarious scene featuring a young Mandar being introduced to the magical world of adult cinema and achieving inner peace. Most importantly, unlike other films of the genre, this one doesn’t objectify women at its narrative core. The laughs aren’t because the women are being objectified. The skirt chasing isn’t glorified, but rather humorously explained as the protagonist’s psychological problem. Mandar is clearly the Fassbender of Chembur – he’s got similar issues and they’re distilled (rather, downgraded) to fit into the commercial Bollywood context.

Hunterrr review The movie is a funny sex comedy with a botched up ending

Courtesy: Hunterrr official page, Facebook.

So although it’s got a protagonist that is very obviously sexist, the film draws humour from risque material in a winningly inoffensive way. At many points, you actually begin to care about Mandar, despite his inappropriate (and often destructive) skirt-chasing antics. Even when Mandar is winking at the married woman from next door (Sai Tamhankar), or hitting on a college girl (Veera Saxena), there’s something oddly endearing about the guy. Deviah’s nuanced and layered performance certainly deserves credit for that – it’s hard to make the audience invest interest in a character that is completely unlikable and he somehow pulls it off.

With so many things going for itself, the film seems like a breath of fresh air at the interval point. Unfortunately, it outstays its welcome with mind-numbing obstinacy and the dreaded curse of the second half vanquishes this film faster than Mandar scores a chick.

Apart from the languid pace and the two and a half hour runtime, there is a bitingly terrible subplot featuring Mandar’s cousin that doesn’t add any logical element to the story. It’s also got a large dose of unintentional hilarity – Mandar weeps uncontrollably while reminiscing emotionally-charged fond memories of the said cousin peeing everywhere except in the loo. Radhika Apte’s character, which makes Mandar contemplate quitting his ‘vasugiri’ for love, has a horribly contrived backstory and their resolution is as implausible as it is painful to watch.

Certainly there are more plusses in the film than there are minuses, but the negatives come at such ferocious intensity, you tend to loathe the film by the end. It’s also more frustrating to watch a film that showed some promise and let you down comprehensively in the end, than it is to see a movie that’s hopeless from beginning to end.

The biggest takeaway from Hunterrr is that Deviah is far greater than this film, and he certainly deserves better stories. As do we.

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