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Heroes - Movie Review

By Nikhil Kumar     24th Oct 2008     23.30 IST    

Heroes Too much rona dhona mars the refreshingly different patriotic film Heroes by director Samir Karnik.

The movie attempts to look at patriotism from a fresh perspective that's void of any jingoistic flavour. It attempts to redefine the word as not just the willingness to fight the nation's enemy, and even die doing so, but as a burning desire to do something for your country, something that would take the country forward.

The idea is well-intended. But alas, the way Samir Karnik takes to drive home the point is by repeatedly focusing on the suffering and inner strife of those people who have lost their loved ones to the war. Be it a Sikh widow ( Preity Zinta ) whose husband ( Salman Khan ) died at the front. Or be it a wheelchair-bound former pilot ( Sunny Deol ) who lost his younger brother ( Bobby Deol ) in the Kargil battle. Or a father ( Mithun Chakraborty ) unable to come to terms with the death of his soldier son ( Dino Morea Karnik focuses solely on the survivors living with the painful memories of the dead.




The story is told from the perspective of two frivolous youths - Saand ( Sohail Khan ) and Nawab ( Vatsal Seth ) - who travel across North India on their motorcycle to make a movie for their graduation from the film institute. The topic of their movie is 'Why One Shouldn't Join Defense Forces' because they believe that to die for one's nation without getting the due credit is like wasting one's life away. On their journey they have to deliver the last letters of three martyred soldiers to their respective families.

The first family is in Punjab, the second in Manali, and the third in Leh.

As the fun-loving duo - Saand and Nawab - meet different families and witness their heartaches, they undergo a transformation from flippant youths to two mature men who begin to understand the value of pride that comes from serving one's country, in any which way.

Thankfully, the movie steers clear of any jingoistic diatribe and Pak-bashing. Rather, it has a couple of beautiful moments like a scene in which a kite flown from a farm in Punjab lands up across the border on the Pakistani side, and Nawab (Vatsal Seth) says how the land on both sides look the same.

If only Karnik had shown more of such subtlety rather than taking the film into repeated bouts of tear-jerking melodrama, 'Heroes' might have been a terrific movie. And to be fair, the movie does make you moist-eyed at many places, but the effect of this rona dhona wanes away gradually with its overdose.

Hail Sohail for a splendid performance punctuated with good humour. Vatsal Seth manages to hold his own but he is visibly ill at ease in serious scenes. Preity Zinta is brilliant as a widow working hard to make ends meet while Salman Khan's Punjabi diction leaves a lot to be desired. Sunny Deol is okay in a dominating role, and he also gets his signature fight sequence in which he beats up a bunch of guys by the mere dint of his fist power. Bobby Deol and Dino Morea have very little roles to speak of. Mithun impresses with his portrayal of a bereaving, unforgiving father.

The film's music is not bad but the party song between Sunny and Bobby can be safely deleted to shorten the film's exhausting length.

To wrap things up, 'Heroes' is a watchable film that might have been much, much better had it been less weepy.

Rating: **1/2



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Vatsal Seth







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