Remake of the Tamil hit �Mudhalvan� �Nayak, The Real Hero� is Shankar�s first Hindi film. Its plot is unconventional and strains credulity.
Shankar has chosen a novel subject and dealt it in a different style. The sleek cinematography (by K. V. Anand) and A.R. Rahman�s musical wizardry gives it an added edge. But the film falls because its story progresses with timely recessions. Shankar gently builds up the intensity , takes it too soon to its boiling point until it all fizzles out. And then he starts all over again.
The film takes off well in the first half but begins to drag in the second half, particularly after the arrest of Balraj Chauhan, the chief Minister. At this juncture, one expects the story to gain momentum but, unexpectedly, it strays into fairyland with romance between gorgeous lass Manjari (Rani Mukherji) and Shivaji Rao (Anil). The songs, although beautifully picturized, punctuate the flow of film�s story.
Rani Mukherji appears in yet another �just-for-the-heck-of-it� role. Her mere �blink-and-you-will-miss-her� presence in the movie is explained by Bollywood�s stereotypical necessity of having someone opposite the hero to bill-and-coo. Another stereotype that mars the film is Johny Lever�s puerile comedy, which is completely insipid and intolerable.
As far as performances go, Anil Kapoor once again proves that he deserved this year�s National Award for the best actor. His whole persona exudes confidence and power. He brings about the required intensity before camera and convincing plays the character, who dares to be the chief minister for a day to cleanse the corrupt system. Paresh Rawal also impresses with another commendable cameo.
Another highlight of the film is the riveting action sequences (particularly the ones on the lines of Matrix) propped by the visual special effects by S.T. Venky. Some of them � like Anil�s fight in the slime � were shot with as many as 36 cameras and the result shows on the screen. Shankar has made an ambitious attempt but he needs to bring more maturity into his work.