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Movie Reviews

Posted at: Jun 1, 2018, 7:14 PM; last updated: Jun 1, 2018, 7:14 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW: BHAVESH JOSHI SUPERHERO

Exploiting vigilante activism

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Film: Bhavesh Joshi Superhero

  • Cast: Priyanshu Painyuli, Harshvardhan Kapoor, Ashish Verma, Rajiv Kachru, Nishikant Kamat, Shibani Dandekar, Ramesh Bhatkar
  • Director: Vikramaditya Motwane
Exploiting vigilante activism
A still from Bhavesh Joshi Superhero

Johnson Thomas

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero, an industrious attempt to resurrect Harshvardhan Kapoor’s nascent Bollywood career is hoping to power itself through allusions to a DC type graphic novel about ‘Insaaf Man’ – but it sadly doesn’t have a statement of purpose or topicality that would resonate with the youth of today. It’s not a badly made film but it’s a little too indulgent in terms of runtime and doesn’t connect strongly enough on an emotional level. 

Certainly dark, edgy and as cool as its self-avowed, distinctly verbalised ambition, the narrative forcibly links to the India Against Corruption movement that heralded a people’s movement with zero tolerance towards corruption while fuelling a devastating swing to an extreme which has literally bludgeoned any hope for a clean polity in the foreseeable  future. 

The film opens with a peek into the near future and then cuts back to three friends Bhavesh(Priyanshu Painyuli), Sikandar (Harshvardhan Kapoor)and Rajit (Ashish Verma) discussing the creation of a graphic novel about a superhero who fights corruption. The five year gap between the movement that gave Indians some hope and the present scenario that has forced the narrative to shift back to criminality as a worse bugbear, has been ignored and that’s essentially where the film falters. The writing credited to Anurag Kashyap and Motwane himself, prefer to prime the corruption landscape while putting their young superhero in situations which any intelligent, smart thinking adult would have treaded with much more care. The three youngsters typically rail against the system and eventually give in to their idealistic fantasy of running a parallel universe where pseudo vigilantism takes route. Their online channel Insaaf bags them a few hits and brings them leads on corrupt activities which they then set out to redress. But it’s not always happy hunting. Bhavesh Joshi ends up brutalised and killed and it becomes Sikandar Khanna’s turn to take on the water mafia and come up with a winning strategy to deal them a devastating blow.

The narrative passage is intense and engaging as long as it’s Priyanshu Painyuli holding the fort. The minute Harshvardhan assumes the mantle, the film begins to lose it’s sway on the audience. Harshvardhan, though sincere, doesn’t have the kind of energy or the craft to make his presence felt. His eyes don’t reflect emotion and though his body language is adequate, the largely ineffectual whole isn’t effective enough to connect with an audience.

The problem is with the writing because it tries to merge a collective process of assimilation into a dystopia of mercurial villainy. Nishikant Kamat’s corrupt turn is a little weak footed. There’s not much definition to his character and the lack of clarity about his role in the scheme of things derails the power he is aiming for here. Motwane’s helming sets the tone to serious and eventually gets so overburdened that it becomes doubly hard to garner any excitement or thrill from the laboured effort. The camerawork is primal and background score, unique enough to drum up brief moments of attachment though.

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