Tired and tested : The Tribune India

Tired and tested

Tired and tested

Film: Shehzada

Director: Rohit Dhawan

Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Kriti Sanon, Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala, Ronit Roy, Sachin Khedekar, Debattama Saha, Rajpal Yadav and Ankur Rathee

Nonika Singh

Action ke beech mein kahani mat pooch…Does that say it all?  If you thought good old Bollywood ishtyle of telling stories is long gone by and filmmakers have decided to let bygones be bygones, take a break. Only Shehzada is not merely a rehash of the tried and tested Bollywood formula, but also a remake of Trivikram Srinivas’s Telugu hit AlaVaikunthapurramuloo.

At the core of the film is the eternal filmy and flimsy tale of swapping of kids at birth, one ‘raja’ another ‘runk’.Here the rightful heir of the Jindal empire is taken away by a devious disgruntled employee Valimiki (Paresh Rawal). He places his own new-born in his place for he wants his son to grow up in the lap of luxury. The eye-witness to his evil designs, a nurse, is conveniently laid to coma.

Cut to 25 years and expectedly the hero, Bantu(Kartik Aaryan), growing up in a modest household is a macho man with a heart. Some ‘gaana shaana’, bit of flexing of muscles, a dash of romance and what helps the logic-less storyline cruise through the interval mark is the pace. It leaves little time for you to pause and ponder over the incongruities that abound by the dozen.

But once our ‘shehzada’ learns where he belongs, we are led down the twisted path of contrivances. Every other character exists to enhance his persona. Heroines, be it the lovely looking Kriti Sanon as his romantic interest or Debattama Saha as his sister, are expendable, around only so he can prove his machismo. No doubt, Kartik like always is endearing and pulls off some rib-tickling one-liners too with his trademark charm. A la Pyaar Ka Punchnama he gets a bit of monologue too. Sadly, even his star charisma can’t salvage the film and after a point in this masala mix, even the fun element goes for a toss. Second half becomes a tad taxing. Why even the ever-reliable Rajpal Yadav can’t tickle our funny bone. With fine actors like Ronit Roy and Manisha Koirala playing parents, the narrative tries to tug at our heartstrings. Sadly, there isn’t much scope for emotional heft.

We get it, nothing here is meant to be taken seriously, and we do take it with a bagful of salt. Why the classic comic tenor of David Dhawan brand of films too is not perceptible in son Rohit Dhawan’s directorial endeavour. Even the music by Pritam and the peppy Munda Sohna Hu Mai Kudi Tu Crore Di, sung by Diljit Dosanjh, fail to lift our spirits. The saving grace of course is that bad man’s son Raj (Ankur Rathee) isn’t that bad and even gets to mouth some decent lines. Upbringing?  Nah, here too the credit goes to our prince, who is a Shezada not because he stands to gain an empire. Rather he wants to set things right for his real family.

One of the few redeeming features of the film is it’s not so predictable end.  No, no we are not being nasty and suggesting that we are grateful that the movie has ended. The climax though following the golden ‘all is well that ends well’ rule, is a bit ‘hatke’.  Overall, the film, however, has nothing new to offer. At best time-pass, provided you are not tired of old wine in yet another variant of an old bottle.