Quintessential Bollywood, fanciful fluff, rises above the benign; is pleasantly entertaining because the leading actors are so adorable: Shahid Kapoor and Ileana D’Cruz as “Vishwas” and “Kajal” sing, and with liquid elasticity, dance to some of the most innovative choreography (Caesar Gonsalves, Bosco Martis) spewing from the contemporary fountain of Bollywood ingenuity. The soundtrack, by innovative Pritam Chakraborty, and lyrics by Irshad Kamil and Amitabh Bhattacharya are reason enough to sit through this romp of buoyant predictability.
Vishwas, a dreamer, sees himself as a “hero”, vanquisher of villainy; a movie star, poster boy, an icon of goodness in a world of scoundrels. His mother (a remarkable Padnimi Koehapure) insists he become a policeman; he promises, moves to Mumbai, where through a myriad of incomprehensible, oftentimes derisive episodes, he accomplishes both trades; Kajal, a social worker, wins his affections; she is a feisty, enchanting pixie; impossible not to succumb to her magnetism.
The film follows the archival Bollywood formula: vicissitudes, eventually felled by the worthy; oceans of tears accompanying the process; scintillating, titillating dance numbers, countless costume changes; a few unsuspected plot twists; acrobatic battles, where all are left unscathed; and running, the protagonists, antagonists clock miles, over hills/dales, avenues, besting the likes of Jesse Owens and Jackie Joyner; monumental stamina resulting in immaculately toned, sculpted physiques; and the ubiquitous “happily ever after”.
“Phata Poster Nikla Hero” is a frivolous, silly scenario that nonetheless leaves one with a lighter step and brighter spirit; a disarming tonic, pacifying the cacophony of life.
TWO & 1/2 STARS