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Hunterrr: Fun on the Fly

The movie's poster  

Hunterrr

Genre: Adult Comedy

Director: Harshvardhan Kulkarni

Cast: Gulshan Devaiah, Radhika Apte, Sai Tamhankar, Sagar Deshmukh

Hindi filmmakers usually limit themselves to the romantic journey of their protagonist. When it comes to sex, they develop cold feet. Hindi film hero usually has puritanical views or gets naughty in bits and pieces. Director Harshvardhan Kulkarni attempts to trace the sexual escapades of his leading man who can’t hold his pants. One of the more mature attempts in adult space it accepts sex as a natural urge and how at a particular age it becomes very difficult for boys to control it. With creative licence tightly in his grip and wit as the fuel, Kulkarni takes us back to adolescence when body threatens to get the better of mind. Right from the title which anoints the boy as the hunter and girl as the prey, Kulkarni treads a lot of stereotypes. The selection of the girl also fits the types that we often get to read in popular culture. The virginal types, the aunty types, the shaadi material and so on. But what is refreshing is that how the narrative travels from lust to love after crossing the clichés.

Mandaar (Gulshan Devaiah) refuses to grow up and get over the phase and lets lust drive his life. From the dumb girl in college, to the neighbourhood aunty, he keeps hunting. But for how long? There is an age for it. What looks cool and experimental during college days sounds like perversion as you grow older. Mandaar tries to settle down and takes the arranged marriage route but he comes across Tripti (Radhika Apte), who also has a colourful journey like Mandaar. Finally the hunter finds his match and we have an interesting dialogue on modern-day relationships. Unlike the innumerable ‘Masti’ movies that proliferate in this genre, Kulkarni has a keen eye on tackling the issue without diluting the risqué tone.

The narrative keeps going back and forth from the present to the 90s but the film has 70s feel to it. All through you can sense a Basu Chatterjee-Amol Palekar kind of vibe to it. It is just that Kulkarni can place the taboos on the table with very little cover. But the best part is the film is not just about the escapades, it gives Mandaar a believable arc. It is like any other coming of age story but here his lust leading to sexual affairs are the obstacles which the protagonist must get over to realise the true meaning of love. The lessons are not splashed in your face and the truth strikes you with certain tenderness.

More and more young Hindi filmmakers are dealing with nostalgia. Kulkarni’s work also has a strong whiff of the past with the voices of Bappi Lahiri and Altaf Raja generating times when kitsch was cool. When classes were bunked for the sleazy morning show. When Samantha Fox was a rage. No not because of her voice! Some of it is effortless but a lot of it is laboured as if the director is a little too keen to share his personal album to a guest who wants him to come to the point. The fact that it is rough at the edges makes it unpredictable but at times the indulgence is difficult to ignore. As if a newcomer wants to underline everything to make his point of view known. At times the dumbness of female characters looks baffling but then all kinds of people make this universe and Kulkarni offers plenty of variety.

Two of the most competent performers of the young crop of actors, Gulshan Devaiah and Radhika don’t allow the proceedings to become cheap or gimmicky. Gulshan has a chameleonic quality to him and he uses with conviction to render the charm of Mandar. With those big eyes searching for something, Radhika has emerged as a force in her short career and here she takes one more step towards an accomplished performer in the making.

Bottomline: Provocative and pungent, it rises above the daftness that we associate with a sex comedy.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2021 5:26:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fun-on-the-fly/article7015516.ece

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