Producer : R.G. Films
Director: Aziz Sajawal
*ing: Arshad Warsi Khan, Namrata Shirodkar, Paresh Rawal, Parmeet Sethi, Shakti Kapoor, Kader Khan & Special Appearance by Asrani
Music: Anu Malik
Released on : October 23, 1998
Reviewed by: Mohammad Ali Ikram
It opened only one week after 1998 biggies, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. Why, I wonder? It is a case of lunacy on the part of the producers of Hero Hindustani to make such a stupid decision. If only it either headlined one of the Khan Triumvirate, or was a commendable piece of film-making. No such luck; Arshad Warsi, great as the heroic comedian in 1996's Tere Mere Sapne, disappoints big time as a solo hero (and quite frankly, his chances of future success are grim).
It is the same old story, with a couple of minor twists. (Now that's a line you have heard more often than not recently.) Namrata Shirodkar, and grandfather (Paresh Rawal), enjoy the frills of wealth in England. Unfortunately, grandpa dearest does not want his granddaughter to marry a foreigner as his deceased son had done, because she will lose her 'Indian identity'. By feigning the standard semi-suicide, almost death scene, he convinces her to marry the guy of his choice from the mother-land. Beti's condition is that she must first visit the prospective groom in India and approve. Leaving cheating boyfriend Parmeet Sethi in England, she heads off, butler Shakti Kapoor in tow. And through the help of two tour guide/drivers, Arshad Warsi and Kader Khan, she is able to break off the marriage with hubby-to-be, bringing back Arshad to England as her (contract) husband. The driver is supposed to get on grandpa's nerves and be booted back to India so Namrata can marry the cheating boyfriend. Things do not go as planned. I am sure you can predict the rest.
The comedy is crass, the direction is loose and uninspired, and the acting is nothing commendable. One expected a great deal of spontaneity and improvisation from Arshad Warsi, but then Aziz Sajawal is no Joy Augustine. Namrata looks almost as bored as the audience throughout the proceedings, but she does try to look smashing in some of the songs, as if that is any consolation. Kader Khan and Paresh Rawal are unusually annoying, and only Shakti manages to raise a couple of semi-smiles on your face (though he does not pass well as a Caucasian).
The film's cinematography is a few notches above Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, but for the latter, at least we know that the stars' salaries drained the producers' pockets. Where have the producers of Hero Hindustani spent all the money they saved from the casting? Heck, even Anu Malik's catchy theme song and a couple of other interesting tunes are wasted on familiar foreign locations. And Amitabh Bachchan's unnecessary thirty second prelude cum voice-over does nothing to enhance the film's appeal.
Hero Hindustani is an all-too-obvious attempt to jump on the currently happening NRI theme's in Bollywood. Yet its unoriginality and eagerness to please are precisely the factors which bring the film down. Indian film-makers should learn to be different rather than always following the pack. Viewers do not demand complete originality, but at least try to be derivative instead of shoving the same stuff down the audiences' throats over and over... and over... and over again. The recycling gives us a case of really bad indigestion.
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