Banners: Eros International, Phantom
Producers: Eros International,
Reliance Entertainment, Vikas Bahl,
Madhu Mantena, Anurag Kashyap
Director: Vikramaditya Motwane
Cast: Harshvardhan Kapoor,
Priyanshu Painyuli, Ashish Varma,
Writers: Vikramaditya Motwane,
Anurag Kashyap, Abhay Koranne
Music: Amit Trivedi
Three friends, Bhavesh, Sikander and Rajat, sit around talking about the evils that plague the city in general and country at large. Listening to Rajat talk about his superhero graphic novel encourages Bhavesh and Sikander to stop being bystanders and instead take on issues that confront the common man. Thus is born the YouTube channel Insaaf TV, through which the duo wearing brown paper masks take on people who don’t follow traffic rules, urinate in public, cut trees and engage in not-so-gruesome crimes.
What started the duo on this journey is the 2011 Lok Pal anti-corruption movement. But, when the movement dies, Sikander loses the will to continue the fight. He surrenders to the corporate world and Bhavesh is left alone to fight. It is during his solo crusade that he stumbles upon the water mafia that threatens to engulf Mumbai.
This results in him going up against a very dangerous and strong politician-police nexus. As a result, Bhavesh ends up paying a heavy price. Sikander, who earlier disposes Bhavesh’s rants about a better India, gets inadvertently drawn into the fight. Whether Mumbai is saved from the water mafia and whether Bhavesh Joshi succeeds in his efforts, these questions are answered in the story.
The story of Bhavesh Joshi Superhero is about the very relevant issue of water scarcity. Along with it, the story highlights several day-to-day conflicts that we face, like jumping a red signal, paying a bribe to get governmental work done and the like. The screenplay in the first half is well paced and builds the characters and the scenario. The dialogue is not preachy and hits the nail on the head every time. Most of the film is shot at night and in the rain. Siddharth Diwan’s images are gritty and impactful. Amit Trivedi’s score is nice.
A special mention of the action scenes, especially the motorbike chase sequences. They are totally believable and don’t seem over the top. The fights are also well choreographed. The violence is realistic but not gory.
The writing also manages to include some elements of humour in the dialogue and scenes, be it the graphic novel discussion between the three friends, or when Bhavesh breaks Siknader’s nose, or the fight scene between Sikander and the corrupt government employee.
A brilliant premise, some really good performances and a technically well-shot film, Bhavesh Joshi Superhero starts on a fabulous note. The build-up of the characters and the story pre-interval is very promising. But, the lengthy scenes of Sikander’s training and some of the scenes where he is investigating the water mafia culprits make the second half a little tedious.
The fall of Bhavesh Joshi, the person, and the rise of Bhavesh Joshi, the persona, should have made the film stronger, but that is where the connection that was well established in the first half seems to loosen its grip. Overall, the film has its heart at the right place.
Vikramaditya Motwane brings forth a strong story which holds your attention. You travel with the character of Bhavesh Joshi and are all-too-eager to join him in his mission. There are several elements in the narrative that are thoughtful and interesting: The song Saare jahan se achcha plays as the caller tune of a corrupt cop. An important document needed for Sikander’s passport is made invalid by a few drops of rainwater. The issue is of water shortage and most of the scenes are shot in heavy rains. The use of red lights for the mask breaks through the darkness of the scenes.
Performance-wise, this is Harshvardhan Kapoor’s second outing as an actor. He is sincere and gives his all to every scene. From being the enthusiastic Sikku to the disillusioned Sikander Khanna and his final transformation as the vigilante Bhavesh Joshi, he tries hard and succeeds.
Priyanshu Painyuli as Bhavesh Joshi is earnest. His heartfelt rants are engaging. He brings a lot of passion to the role and you are forced to connect with his crusade. Ashish Varma as Rajat and the narrator of the story is a perfect foil to the brashness and craziness of Bhavesh and Sikander. It is in the second half, especially towards the climax of the film, that he takes centre stage. Nishikant Kamat creates an impact as the antagonist. The rest of the cast plays their parts well.
Verdict: A Must watch!