Nobody, except maybe the producers and immediate family of cast and crew, would have expected a film called Heropanti to work, going by the promos and trailers.
Another big banner exploiting star genes — even if the new cub Hero looked freakishly like Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine — and a plot that seemed too dated and formulaic to make any impact.
No exaggeration. Tiger looks like Kareena Kapoor on steroids and if he were part of the X-Men, he could play Mystique… He can morph into Hrithik one minute and Kareena the next. Or, a new mutant hero called Woo-Man: for his ability to woo anyone, man or woman.
Tiger is here to challenge our perceptions of gender types.
Who said that the modern hero needs to look macho? How metrosexual can a man be? Tiger Shroff stretches any known boundaries of the term. He not only is well-groomed, clean-shaven all through and has perfectly done eyebrows — it is impossible to tell the hero and the heroine apart when the director decides to intercut between the close-ups of their eyes.
If we were casting for Shiva, the mighty god of dance, grace and action — half man, half woman — Tiger would be perfect. And we say this without an iota of sarcasm, the cub Shroff will change the way we perceive heroes as the epitome of all things macho.
While we first see him at the gym beating up a bunch of Jat goons, the Hero’s journey in the film is from brash punch line-spouting arrogance (Heropanti… sabko aati nahin, meri jaati nahin), to surprisingly silent stoic resilience and restraint. He exudes confidence and vulnerability at the same time.
His Bablu channels quite a bit of Prem (Salman Khan from Maine Pyaar Kiya) especially in his scenes with the girl’s sanskaari father. Prakash Raj now (Alok Nath then) is simply fantastic in humanising a stereotype. Debutante Kriti Sanon is a natural, a modern-day Bhagyashree in designer clothes, and is likely to stay.
However, as sincere as he looks, Tiger is still a little raw unlike Varun Dhawan who effortlessly slipped into the shoes of Salman Khan in Main Tera Hero.
While Dhawan displayed his range, Tiger doesn’t get much to sink his teeth into.
But thanks to a taut screenplay (credited to Bhaskar) and direction (Sabbir Khan of Kambakkth Ishq) Heropanti rises above the clichés, despite the two-decade-old plot of manufacturing consent from the father instead of just running away with his daughter, as characters remain largely true to the type until the very end (when the entire honour-killing endorsing community conveniently undergoes an instant change of heart.)
While Varun Dhawan may have won this round, we just cannot ignore the cub. Welcome to the hero’s club, Tiger.
Director: Sabbir Khan
Cast: Tiger Shroff, Kriti Sanon, Prakash Raj, Sandeepa Dhar
Storyline: When his daughter elopes, the father rounds up the groom’s friends to hunt the couple down and one of them falls for the other daughter.
Bottomline: Tiger is not just a hero, he’s a superhero with powers to look prettier than most heroines and he also does his own stunts.