Rajkumar Santoshi used to be good at this. Old-fashioned goofy spoofy comedies about good-for-nothing filmy heroes getting mixed up with dangerous yet comic criminals.
But going by Phata Poster Nikla Hero, he seems to be losing his mojo. The jokes run dry halfway and strangely, the film too starts taking itself a tad too seriously, like the writers lost track of the genre. But given that the story, screenplay, dialogues and direction are by Santoshi himself, the genius writer-director of Andaaz Apna Apna himself is to blame this time.
Not that Phata Poster is entirely bad. The first half is packed with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments even if the jokes are a little inconsistent and seem rehashed from lines that didn't make it to the final draft of Andaaz Apna Apna.
And Shahid Kapoor gives it his all. If the film is watchable (don't be surprised if you don't turn channels when it plays on TV) even as a guilty pleasure, it is because of Shahid embracing the lunacy wholeheartedly. He has a blast — the action scenes are outrageously over-the-top, the dance choreography has enough steps to turn viral on the dance floor, there is the emotional maa-beta drama and even a father-son clash.
The ingredients for this masala entertainer all seem to be right, but the writing lets it all down. We can see the twists coming from a mile ahead. Why bother keeping a twist when the genre itself is predictable?
There is a fine line between making fun of the genre and becoming it. Phata Poster wants to be Dabangg and not just make fun of it, forgetting that it starts off with its tongue in cheek.
There is plenty of comic talent in the film to make you laugh at least a dozen times, but unfortunately, the length makes this too tiring a watch. Especially, the extended sentimental climax!
The funniest part, however, is the Salman Khan cameo and the promise of the much speculated Andaaz Apna Apna sequel. But given the form he seems to be in, maybe Amar and Prem are best revisited on DVDs of the classic.
Director: Rajkumar Santoshi
Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Ileana D Cruz, Padmini Kolhapure, Saurabh Shukhla, Darshan Jariwala, Sanjay Mishra
Storyline: He wants to become a Hero while his mother wants him to become an “imaandaar police afsar”
Bottomline: Shahid carries it halfway but the film runs out of jokes.