Shahid Kapoor is at a peculiar stage in his career. The talented actor is neither an underdog nor top dog, too experienced to be treated as a newcomer but not successful enough to pose a serious threat to his rivals. Life influences art and emerges as a new myth in Phata Poster Nikhla Hero, which makes the strongest possible case yet to the movie trade and viewers that Kapoor cannot be written off easily.

Rajkumar Santoshi’s cartoonish comedy, about a small-town boy who wants to be a movie star, throws the actor a lifeline that he grabs with hands and feet. Kapoor hams, fights, weeps, frowns, sings, dances (beautifully) and woos without breaking into a sweat—a masterful act of professionalism from a gifted but allegedly mercurial actor. Kapoor’s tender and innocent screen image is perfectly suited to carry off the antics of the movie-mad Vishwas, who pretends to be a policeman in order to fulfil his mother Savitri’s dream. Vishwas inadvertently becomes a heroic police officer, watched on with adoration by Ileana D’Cruz’s Kajal, but runs afoul the buffoonish villain Gundappa (Saurabh Shukla).

Shahid Kapoor in a still of the movie Phata Poster Nikhla Hero

Phata Poster Nikhla Hero released in theatres on Friday

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