Written by Manisha Lakhe on June 1, 2018
A Result Of Watching Too Much Netflix
A young man dedicated to righting the wrongs of the world
around him stumbles into something sinister and way
beyond his masked paperbag avatar of ‘Insaaf TV’ on
social media. Bhavesh Joshi tries to handle the big bad
world of baddies and is outnumbered. His one time friend
then takes on the role of the vigilante Bhavesh Joshi and
tries to undo the wrongs. The movie has some really
refreshing parts, and others are so blatantly aped from
Netflix shows and movies, they sort of cancel each other
and you come away shaking your head sadly.
Is Bhavesh Joshi trying to be like Kick-Ass the movie? Is he
meant to be the superhero every young person wants to be or
is he a spin off of ‘the angry young man against the world’
Amitabh Bachchan movies we loved in the 70s?
From saving trees from being chopped off to discovering how
politicians are siphoning off the city’s water supplies to resell
the water for a price, a young out of work Bhavesh Joshi and
his paper-bag mask reach everywhere. Priyanshu Painyuli
who plays Bhavesh Joshi is such a wonderful find. He’s a fine
actor and looks the part of a young lad, intense about doing
the right thing. Anyone who grew up reading Indrajal comics
will tell you about homegrown heroes like Bahadur. Of course
the film has clever lines like, ‘We’re DC not Marvel. We’re cooler.’
Harshvardhan Kapoor is the quintessential ‘Engineer who hates
the cubicle coding life who is happy to leave to go to America
because nothing can go right here’ lad. He sits at their favourite
pub making ‘how we protest marched’ into a pick-up line.
Ashish Verma plays Rajat, the third friend who is the voice of
reason, the nerd who writes ‘graphic novel’ about Insaaf-Man.
The backstory of how the friends met is good fun. And you think
the movie is going to be good.
You want to understand why the film suddenly borrows from all
kinds of shows and movies and becomes generic underdog
superhero: the need to learn martial arts from a ‘Chinese’ person,
the need to add Fast and Furious style nitrous oxide (chop shops
in Bombay would facepalm at that because they’d add Liqui Moly
Speed Tec Benzene is legal and cheaper), the need to use a video
camera (what is this, the 80s?) instead of smartphones that
upload videos directly because it was so cool in movies like
Son of Rambow.
What made me sigh into my coffee was the Korean style fights
where baddies just keep coming at the hero their weapons
raised, and then you realise you need to sigh many more times
because the filmmakers have chipped away at the magic trying
to make a superhero movie. Without giving away the plot, let
me ask you computer engineers out there. How do you suddenly
know how to repaint motorbikes? Drive one (when he drives a
car mostly)? How can you re-jig the motorbike? How is it that
the office in Atlanta doesn’t care if the team lead has not
reported and connect with the Bombay boss? And why does
he do a Peter Parker staring at Mary Jane?
Harshvardhan Kapoor is boring. And his petulant, ‘Teach me!’ is
hysterical. Thankfully you are distracted by the underrated talent
of Nishikant Kamat (His ears are spectacularly cinematic too.).
He makes a great villain. It’s just that when people are already
in power, they don’t need such a scheme that involves so
much Semtex to get contracts issued in their favor. You realise
you have blown off everything in the coffee cup with your sighs.
The film is too long (155 minutes) to get to this point. There are
some good parts (the idea that Bhavesh Joshi is out there) and
many pathetic ones. It cancels out what could have been a
great straight to Netflix or Amazon show.
(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)