Little heroic about it

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Jun 2018 12:45:35



Bhavesh Joshi 

By Farina Salim Quraishi

‘Superheroes are not born, they are made,’ goes a line in Bhavesh Joshi. Fair enough we say! However, it really does takes more than a heart - even if it’s in the right place – to make anyone a hero, super or otherwise. With its heart beating frantically for the nation, Bhavesh Joshi has an interesting premise - a common man of a superhero - but is let down big time by its muddled head. Vigilantism definitely is explosive material for the silver screen, but only when might is complemented by the mind! Sure Bhavesh Joshi has all the requisite chutzpa and charm to pass the class as a masked crusader, but given that the film rides on a half-baked idea, poor plot and is shoddily executed, the breakaway project ends up being a brilliant idea gone to waste!

Starting around the politically volatile year of 2011, when Jan Lokpal movement peaked in the country, Bhavesh Joshi is about two friends, Bhavesh Joshi (Priyanshu Painyuli) and Sikandar aka Sikku Khanna (Harshvardhan Kapoor). Initially joining the movement for Facebook glory, the duo soon turns into honest activists firing on the movement. After the Anti-Corruption drive collapses, the duo decides to pick action over activism. Starting a YouTube channel, Insaaf TV, both Bhavesh and Sikku become the ‘Insaaf ke Rakhwale’ complete with brown paper masks! They happily fool around, pulling the lid off the most idiotic of issues, celebrating their growing popularity and ‘conquests’.

Five years on, reality has seeped in and the bond has cracked. While Sikku has grown up (read jaded) and is toeing the ‘normal’ line, Bhavesh is still waving the Insaaf flag. The friendship almost breaks when Sikku decides to move to the US. Venting out his frustration through Insaaf TV, Bhavesh exposes local water mafia and its power connect. All hell breaks loose after the video becomes viral, bringing a tsunami of trouble for Bhavesh and Sikku.

Even though Bhavesh Joshi -self-confessedly - draws its inspiration from the darker rival of Marvel Cinematic Universe, ie, the DC heroes; it’s much too dark and somber for its own good. The grey and gloom is much too pronounced in this Vikramaditya Motwane-directed saga, who has a penchant for darker shades of emotion (remember the soul-shaking Udaan)! With no let up from the dark shadows, Bhavesh Joshi paints everything and everyone around it the darkest shade of black with no room for grey. The depressive mood prevails throughout the film, which even the spunky vigilantes
fail to break.

In a bid to make Bhavesh Joshi a real-life superhero, too much reality is stuffed in with scant ‘super’ elements! So we have two smarty-pants fired on by idealism, wanting to be the change they want to see around them; so far so good. But for two highly educated, reasonably logical guys, to just rush in head-on into the war-zone, with not a thought or plan in place is not super-heroics, but sheer stupidity. Moreover, just banking on social media to bring about the change doesn’t cut ice and both guys come across as hotheads firing on empty! Come on, Mr Motwane, we expected more than the toothless superhero you’ve given us and to call Bhavesh Joshi a genre-defining superhero film is a joke that doesn’t even amuse!

Bhavesh Joshi had a solid premise and smart contemporary gems to make an impact. It had water crises as its focal point - a pressing concern today. Also, in a telling scene, Bhavesh is quickly labelled as anti-national for being a person with a voice, then there are the disturbing shots of mob frenzy or even the false media propaganda, all sparks strewn across the film but only sparkling faintly. Like so many things in the film, these remain just promises, never playing out to their full potential. Instead, the focus of the film remains vigilantism and vengeance, unoriginal all along!

After starting off brilliantly, the 155-minute film loses steam post interval and comes to a standstill. The meandering plot runs around in endless circles confused about its trajectory. Swinging widely from being an ironic take on troubles to turning getting deadly serious in parts, Bhavesh Joshi oscillates between the two genres; a major disappointment really since the story was crafted by three brilliant minds including, Motwane, Anurag Kashyap and Abhay Koranne. And the hideously worded and shot item number, which goes like, ‘Tere chumme mein Chavanprash hai,’ is the proverbial final nail in the coffin and makes great grounds for a lawsuit!

Among the cast, Harshvardhan Kapoor sure looks the rugged part but fails miserably in the acting department. Save for a few forlorn expressions, the Kapoor Scion fails to bring the entire rainbow of emotions to the explosive role. The eyes just don’t burn brightly and the fire is just not there! Plus the watered down voice lacks the gravitas needed for the fierce role. However, the original Bhavesh Joshi , Painyuli, who goes away much too soon, literally too, is a bright spark of talent! Earnestness and emotive Painyuli fits the bill to a T as the fired up lone ranger. Ashish Verma, playing the third inactive Musketeer, is convincing but has a short role. While Nishikant Kamat, playing a corrupt MLA is just a caricature. With an open end and post-credits scenes hinting at the possibility of a franchise, we only hope the sequel to Bhavesh Joshi won’t be a confused venture like the first.

The Hitavada Rating: O O