In which David Dhawan makes his son Varun Dhawan, in only his second movie, work very, very hard—the young man fights, dances, sings, romances, kisses, schemes his way out of jams, dives into pools and trouble, dives onto beds and out of trouble, has two-way conversations with idols of various faiths, shows off his shaven and ribbed chest, delivers punch dialogue, pays tribute to Govinda and tries to do a Salman Khan.

When we first meet Varun’s character Seenu in Main Tera Hero, his ambitions are low: to pass an examination he has flunked by a few marks. But academia is soon set aside for a more interesting life of unhinged capers and endless bantering, as has been the case with all of the director’s characters in the madcap movies he has rolled out over the years—businessmen don’t do business, gangsters don’t commit crimes, cops don’t do any police work, students don’t study. Seenu falls for Sunaina (Ileana D’Cruz) within seconds of seeing her, and very soon after, realises that she is being forcibly claimed by beefcake police officer Angad (Arunoday Singh). Not long after, Seenu has wooed Sunaina, Angad is mad as hell, his bulk threatening to explode from underneath his token police uniform when a twist takes them all to Bangkok, where Nargis Fakhri’s Ayesha, who has fallen for Seenu somewhere in between his adventures, holds Sunaina as a hostage to force Seenu to marry her.

The 128-minute screenplay, an official remake of the Telugu film Kandireega, moves at a frenetic, cartoon-strip pace, cutting swiftly from scene to song and back and piling on the antics of Seenu, Ayesha’s gangster father (Anupam Kher), the don’s henchman (Saurabh Shukla), and Angad, who also shows up in Bangkok to claim his prize. It flags ever so often, contains many jokes fit only for SMS forwards, but is occasionally rescued by a successful gag. Kher’s gangster has the wonderful habit of echoing the last word of his sentence since he was born in a mountain valley; a kissing demonstration is neatly paced. The cast is at its professional best, and perhaps in deference to the adolescent and family crowd the production hopes to targets, the double entendre is in single digits.

A movie that is named after a popular song from Desi Boyz, the debut of David Dhawan’s other son Rohit, cannot escape the past. Dhawan’s comedies have always relied on dialogue writer Kader Khan’s worldplay and the energy of the cast, especially Govinda, to submit to all kinds of indignities. Varun’s youth and verve are never in doubt, but he labours under the shadow of the great Govinda, who enlivened several Dhawan productions with his ability to land a joke at just the right moment and convey the essential insanity of the enterprise. As if to compensate, there are ample displays of Varun’s sculpted body, his fighting skills, his dancing abilities, and his general heroism. The title says it all.

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