‘Sikhaiye’ (teach me) he yells at the Karate instructor. The poker face timidity with that stubble which reminds of the intense Anil Kapoor during the late 80’s and 90’s meet Sikander (Harshvardhan Kapoor) the superhero of Vikramaditya Motwane’s BHAVESH JOSHI SUPERHERO – a dark, quirky and edgy attempt.
This could have been Harshvardhan Kapoor’s dream run in Bollywood, as the format of the film and the diffidence of the character that results in the super hero ‘masked’ during his ‘acts’ of Insaaf (justice). The feeling of judgment ‘Insaaf’ is born from that India against corruption social movement that happened a few years ago. Ironically, the movement that ended as just a paper revolution on social media meets with the same fate as movie. Vikramaditya Motwane fails to give this super hero the ‘Udaan’ it deserves and finds itself ‘Trapped’ in its bid to be a dark, quirky and edgy super hero.
The writers Vikramaditya Motwane, Anurag Kashyap and Abhay Koranne begin rightly with group of three friends – Bhavesh Joshi (Priyanshu Painyuli), Sikandar (Harshvardhan Kapoor) and Rajat (Ashish Verma) are friends who share a common desire to do something for the nation especially for the city Mumbai which is dying since ages in our movies. A YouTube channel by the name ‘Insaaf TV’ is launched with faces concealed by brown paper bags that seemed to be borrowed from Irrfan Khan starrer BLACK MAIL. So unaware culprits who are either urinating in public, drivers breaking signals get captured. It’s a brilliant simile that explains the enthusiasms of some youth who want to do something good but lack the direction. When we come to know that the title of the movie is not named after Harshvardhan Kapoor’s character but after his partner in the voice for Insaaf Bhavesh Joshi (Priyanshu Painyuli), a predictable but intriguingly welcome hope is generated.
Sikandar like majority of us is disturbed by the corruption prevailing in the system but the pressure to lead a good life creates the hurdle resulting in the feeling of ‘who cares’ getting cemented in his mind. Sikander after the initial tryst to bring the change through the vigilante ‘Insaaf’ methods gets challenged by fate that brings him an opportunity to settle in USA. His ally Bhavesh in spite of ‘Insaaf’ juvenile methods and lack of awareness decides to continue the movement. A tip off on water scam turns dangerous leading to involvement of the state politician Rana (Nishikanth Kamat).
Sikander gets unwillingly involved in the tussle. The script then further takes quirky and dark tones where you find tributes being paid to classic Hollywood de noirs like CHINATOWN starring Jack Nicholson ( the wounded nose of Kapoor), Christopher Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT (who is Bhavesh Joshi, the debate on vigilantism, the grey shades of a ‘hero’) plus a déjà vu of a karate/kung fu action flick when Harshvardhan undergoes training from a martial arts expert.
The first half is successful in establishing the premise and a grand take off ( Udaan) is promised but alas, the farfetched approach, the loneliness of the super hero Bhavesh Joshi, his inability to go all out at the monsters of corruption turns this potential quirky dark and edgy superhero flick into more of a personal vendetta saga. The movie bafflingly swings between genres and fails to get the wining sweep required. The second half is a disappointment and at the most we get a breathtaking bike chase sequence.
Technically well crafted, the movie is brilliantly shot by Siddharth Diwan that captures Mumbai darkness drenched in rain.
Harshvardhan Kapoor still needs some grooming as an actor, Ashish Verma and Nishikant Kamat are fine. Priyanshu Painyuli is brilliant. Shreiyah Sabarwal is just for glamour.
And last but not the least, it’s the undying passion of Bhavesh Joshi played by Priyanshu Painyuli that gives this flick the required zeal. Harshvardhan Kapoor character Sikander is a timid follower of Bhavesh Joshi who fails to take it off the way he should have for the benefit of the movie, the audience, the genre and for himself.