Superhero films are a rarity in India. Despite the success of films like 'Mr. India', the 'Krrish' franchise and several superhero films from Hollywood which release in India, it is a genre that very few filmmakers in India have tapped into. Vikramaditya Motwane wanted to make 'Bhavesh Joshi Superhero' way back in 2013. Several delays and casting changes later, the film finally sees the light of the day with Harshvardhan Kapoor playing the lead role. As a fan of the superhero genre, I stepped into the theatre with some excitement as we barely make superhero films in India.
Sikandar or Siku (Harshvardhan Kapoor), Bhavesh (Priyanshu Painyuli) and Rajat (Ashish Verma) are friends who strongly believe that there are a lot of things in the country which need to change. Bhavesh comes up with a plan through which they can actually contribute towards bringing some significant change in the country. He, along with Siku, opens a YouTube channel called Insaaf TV. The two of them make masks made out paper and go out with a video camera in search of people who are doing something unlawful or unethical. Years later, Siku gets busy with his IT job and prepares to go to America on an assignment. Bhavesh gets a mail from a follower of Insaaf TV which informs him about a water-based scam happening in the city. Bhavesh starts investigating the issue and ends up getting into some big trouble.
The film gives a very interesting idea as to how a film featuring a vigilante could be set or mounted in India. What Motwane manages to achieve with the kind of budget he had in hand is remarkable. The problem is that despite the vigilante factor and all the little elements that add some novelty to the script, the film boasts of a rather ordinary plot. One has seen bits and pieces of what happens in the film in several other Hindi films. Even the way the water mafia scam has been described in the film seems very unconvincing. The ease with which Siku manages to convince the corrupt policemen and politicians that he has flown to the States is laughable. There is a scene in which the hero waits for the traffic signal to turn green and start his bike even when he is being chased by people who are after his life. The scene is supposed to prove the point that he is somebody who does not break any rules. But, isn't over-speeding your vehicle a crime? And what about beating up people? If he is breaking various laws repeatedly to bring some people to justice, it looks very silly when the makers show him adhering to traffic rules at a time when it could cost him his life.
Motwane deserves a pat on his back for making something that has the trappings of a superhero/vigilante film and giving the hero a fairly topical issue to deal with. However, the script (which he has co-written with Anurag Kashyap) is too simplistic for one to take it seriously. Save for two sequences (one in which Siku decides to become Bhavesh Joshi and avenges Bhavesh's death and the other involving a bike chase sequence), the rest of his encounters with the bad guys are not really exciting. The film neither has a memorable villain nor an actor who infuses some life into the hero. While Nishikant Kamat is saddled with a poorly written character, Harshvardhan Kapoor lacks the charisma or the intensity to pull off a character likes this.
'Bhavesh Joshi Superhero' is a film which cannot be entirely dismissed. It sets the tone for a genre that Hindi cinema needs to explore more prominently. Vikramaditya Motwane enjoys a good reputation as a filmmaker and he might like to give this genre another shot with a better script in hand.