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sivakarthikeyan meteoric rise from being an anchor to a Tamil cinema hero is inspiring. With his recent release, which is titled Hero, he just took it up a notch by choosing a superhero flick. While the film, directed by PS Mithran, had an interesting premise, the execution was unimpressive, full of clichés and illogical loopholes.
Shakthi (Sivakarthikeyan), along with his sidekick Ink (Robo Shankar) own a printing press that produces fake degree certificates. Shakthi thinks that he is engaging in this illegal activity as a mark of protest against the education system which fails to recognise talented individuals. On the other hand, there is Moorthy (Arjun) who is the Tamil version of Aamir Khan’s character from 3 Idiots, but with serious intentions to change the education system.
And then there’s Mahadev (Abhay Deol), one of the influential people in the city who believes in producing educated labourers’ than encouraging young minds and their innovation. What happens when these three characters meet forms the crux of Hero.
PS Mithran’s debut film Irumbu Thirai addressed the perils of technology. With his second flick Hero, he delves deep into the problems that students and parents face in the education system. From the capitation fees to fake degree certificates to corruption and bribery, he’s covered it all. All these issues either appear as scenes or as voice-overs.
With every interesting idea, Mithran throws at us, there are a couple of over-the-top scenes that ruin the experience. For example, Shakthi had to safeguard four children from Mahadev and gang. How they ended up together makes up for an interesting watch. But, in a scene, the director shows that Shakthi and team launch a satellite without anyone knowing. No, we’re not kidding.
It is these exaggerated sequences that constantly make the audience question Mithran’s pure intentions. In both his films, his strength lies in building up characters. He does it best with Hero as well by etching great characters for both Sivakarthikeyan and Arjun. But, for Abhay Deol, not so much.
Arjun’s role is an extended version of his iconic character in Shankar’s Gentleman. He is a vigilante masquerading as a teacher who doesn’t believe in textbook teaching. Particularly, his flashback portions create a much-needed impact on the story of Hero.
Sivakarthikeyan as Shakthi is a perfect fit for Hero as he nails his expressions, emotions and stunts too. Yet, it becomes extremely difficult for the audience to look past the clichés. Arjun, in his role, has performed exceptionally well.
Kalyani Priyadarshan plays a motivational speaker named Meera. While she performed her role with ease, her character didn’t add any substance to the film. Ivana, who proved her mettle as an actress in Bala’s Nachiyaar, has appeared in a brief yet impactful role in Hero, which sets the tone for the film.
Abhay Deol makes his Tamil debut with Hero and his lip-sync is better than most of the heroines. While it’s okay to show a powerful antagonist, it is always necessary to look through the tall claims the screenplay suggests. Throughout the film, Abhay Deol and gang appear as men who destroy the livelihood of young talents who invent machines to make people’s lives easy. And they are also shown as the men who can trace and track anyone within a few minutes. If only these men concentrated on inventing something on their own. If only.
One of the highpoints of Hero is its cinematography by George Williams. The framing and use of colours set the tone for the film. Yuvan Shankar Raja’s songs and background music failed to elevate the important moments.
The main grouse in Hero is that it was promoted as a superhero film and there were hardly any superhero elements in the film. The whole process of the superhero character creation was interesting to watch on screen. Sadly, it wasn’t put to good use.
Hero had all the potential to become a proper superhero film sensible to Tamil cinema standards. But, the lumbering narrative (in a few portions), exaggerated scenes and illogical loopholes ruin the entire experience.