If you thought that Pukar was the only classy, stylish thriller you´d see this year, think again, because A.G. Nadiadwala´s Hera Pheri is a well directed thrill ride with flashes of comedy thrown in. The film is just as well done as the trailors, which really impressed me, especially the one showing Akshay Kumar in the midst of a football game, which confused me, but was also entertaining. The film is totally carried by the performances, Priyadarshan´s direction, and Namrata Shirodkar´s awesome special appearence in "Tun Tunak Tun", Bally Sagoo´s racy dance track.
The film has an interesting plot that revolves around Raju (Akshay Kumar), Shyam (Sunil Shetty), Babu Rao (Paresh Rawal), and Anu (Tabu), four people in dire need of some money. Shyam and Raju both stay with Babu Rao, an alcoholic garage owner. The plot thickens when gangster Kabira (Gulshan Grover) kidnaps the grandson of a wealthy businessman and contacts the wrong number for the ransom money -- Raju and Shyam´s residence. The trio is then trapped in a rough situation, and they struggle to decide whether they should attempt to save the kid, or try to profit from the situation, which they eventually decide on. Trouble ensues, as the gang´s greed takes control of them, leading them into the mouth of danger. The film focuses on how morality is often thrown out the window when money is involved, and how when money´s involved, it´s every man for himself. Friendships don´t matter in Priyadarshan´s portrayal of a greedy, grisly world.
The plot of the film is very slick, and though the whole movie hangs on the basis of a coincidental wrong number, Priyadarshan, with his directorial skill, handles the plot very well. The story has some minor foibles that can be overlooked, however.
Akshay Kumar has turned in a very mature performance, and surprises with his good delivery, but the one actor who really impresses is Paresh Rawal. Rawal is hilarious in the comic scenes, which, surprisingly, don´t hinder the movie´s speed. If you liked him in Khoobsurat and Daud, you´ll love him in Hera Pheri. Sunil Shetty teeters between decent and lousy, and Tabu supports well.
The songs range from excellent to just plain awful. Tabu´s "Main Ladki Pom Pom Pom" literally makes you want to commit suicide, while numbers like "Mujhse Milti Hai", "Sun Zara", and "Jab Bhi Koi Haseena" are hummable. The best song in the film is definately "Tun Tunak Tun", a racy bhangra/dance number from Bally Sagoo, which isn´t better than Sagoo´s previous effort in Kartoos, "Oh Rabba", but is still very good. All the songs are picturized very well, especially "Jab Bhi Koi Haseena", with Akshay. Priyadarshan sprinkles his film with interesting ingredients, including pretty Namrata Shirodkar in "Tun Tunak Tun", a beautiful sports car in "Jab Bhi Koi Haseena", and a gigantic man with a python, who was confusing but cool. The choreography of "Tun Tunak Tun" is great.
All in all, Priyadarshan´s Hera Pheri is a delight to watch for its performances, some songs, and an interesting story line. Indian audiences would be doing Bollywood injustice if they accept an inane film like Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge and reject a thrilling and entertaining Hera Pheri. Hopefully, the film will click with the masses, and the trailors and songs, if not the stars, will pull audiences to the theaters. Namrata Shirodkar´s number has already caught on strong in India. Let´s see if in a dull year of flicks like Mela, Krodh, and Bulandi a good film like Hera Pheri can make an impact.