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Critics Review
Hero review: Ashok Galla's launch vehicle is a non-stop laughter ride

Director Sriram Adittya makes brilliant use of his brand of self-deprecating humour in this hilarious entertainer

3.0
Srivathsan Nadadhur
Jan 15, 2022
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Story:

Arjun is a wannabe actor hailing from a middle-class family, dreaming of a rosy future in the movies. He falls in love with Subbu, his good-looking neighbour and a doctor by profession. A wrong courier parcel, which has a gun in it, lands at Arjun's home. His friend in an inebriated state accidentally shoots a cop with it and all hell breaks loose. While the entire police department is on a mission to nab the culprit, Arjun realises that the incident has a strange connection with Subbu's father, who mysteriously wishes to fly to the US.

Review:

The key link to getting launch vehicles of any actor right is to not lose track of a film's basic intent - to entertain audiences. A filmmaker must be intelligent enough to package a script that has more purpose to it than serving as a showcase of a debutant's exploits. Hero, marking the debut of veteran star Krishna's grandson Ashok Galla, is just that. The film never punches above its weight, thanks to the self-deprecating humour that the director Sriram Adittya uses brilliantly in a super-entertaining script. 

That the lead actor hails from a family with big names like Krishna and Mahesh Babu also means that Hero is bound to be filled with several references to their popular hits and songs. Hero indulges in a superb opening sequence on the lines of Takkari Donga, where a modern-day Robinhood, a cowboy, saves the poor from evil men and emerges a saviour. It literally turns out to be a dream for a protagonist, who wishes to make it big in the industry and is incidentally looking for the right 'launch'. He wishes to do a mass film like Pokiri, and also later dances to Krishna's Maa Oollo Oka Paduchundi and Jumbare Jujumbare.

Despite playing to the galleries, Sriram Adittya keeps these references under check for most of the time and has a sharp screenplay to drive the story. The director's knack for humour was always visible in films like Bhale Manchi Roju and Samanthakamani. He has a slick filmmaking style and an uncanny wit that works perfectly for a story like Hero that essentially is a crime comedy. The tone of the film remains understated and light-hearted always and it never takes itself too seriously. 

Hero is at its funniest best when Arjun faces consistent rejection at his auditions - watch out for his conversation with Anil Ravipudi (in a special appearance). Though the germ of the story around courier parcels may have been inspired by Delhi Belly, the world of Hero is localised well and remains very rooted in its setting, doffing its hat to the film industry, yesteryear greats, while telling a story that revolves around guns, cops and goons. 

The interval sequence where a crime scene is smartly reimagined as a film story discussion at Arjun's home is a perfect example of self-aware, intelligent writing. Even a sidekick like Sathya, whose main purpose is to provide comic relief, has an integral part to play in the story. Just when you foresee the film taking a serious, intense route, an unexpected flashback on Jagapathi Babu invites a new dimension to the story. Naresh's response to the flashback episode is downright hilarious.

Even while packaging a quintessential climax with a heavy dose of action at a railway station, the director proves to be street-smart in blending the world of films and crime. The climax is stuff that iconic comic sequences are made of - the thin line between reel life and real life is blurred and the protagonist's ambition of becoming a film hero is integrated into this scene wonderfully. The parody of Boyapati's trademark 'switch on camera, action' dialogue in his film credits is good fun to watch. However, the dialoguebaazi surrounding the glory of the film industry gets a little too self-indulgent. 

Ashok Galla couldn't have asked for a better film than Hero for his debut. It brings out his strengths across all departments - dance, action, comedy, romance, all enough to make him a bankable mainstream actor for the times to come. The supporting actors, including Naresh, Sathya, Ajay, Vennela Kishore, Brahmaji, Ravi Kishan, Archana Ananth are the pillars of the film. 

Nidhhi Agerwal does what's expected of her and gets a reasonably meaty role. However, the film's biggest surprise is Jagapathi Babu in a refreshing avatar, where you get to see his comic timing, restraint and ease with action. Sriram Adittya too proves that he's a filmmaker to watch out for. Ghibran's winsome background score is an added bonus to the film, while the rap song is shot quite well and has great choreography. Kalyan Shankar and AR Tagore's dialogues fit into the film's wacky world aptly.

Verdict:

Hero has more meat to it than just being Ashok Galla's acting debut. The crime comedy has several surprises to offer, remains consistently funny, street smart and never loses track of its story. The supporting cast is brilliant while Ghibran's background score enhances the impact of the story. An ideal big-screen watch this Sankranthi. Director Sriram Adittya and team have a winner!


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