It is easy to see why Hrithik Roshan signed Super 30. Deemed Bollywood's resident Adonis and little else for long despite some credible performances over the years, the superstar was out to de-glam. He needed to nail that one role which would remain top-of-the-mind recall every time you spoke of his acting skills.
At a time when Bollywood is rediscovering heartland stories, and when issue-driven cinema has become more saleable than ever, playing a small town educationist who revolutionised coaching facility for the underprivileged would seem to fit the bill. Being Anand Kumar was a smart move for Hrithik.
The problem is everything about the film is insistently crafted to suit that purpose. "Super 30" comes across more as Hrithik's desperate bid to prove that he can shed his stardom, than an honest storytelling effort of an intriguing life.
You realise as much watching the actor go, struggling to deliver the essential Bihari accent as Anand Kumar might have done it. Hrithik's utterly bronzed face, meant to match Kumar's average looks, is far from what will fetch the film's make-up artist an award or two, and as the superstar does his best to keep those bulging biceps well inside his sleeves to resemble the medium-framed Kumar, the effort is inadvertently comic.
Anand Kumar's life deserved a super film. However, mainstream Bollywood, bogged down by innate commercial diktats, rarely creates anything that is super. Done in by shoddy scripting (Sanjeev Dutta) and elaborate melodrama, director Vikas Bahl's new film takes too long to finish its tale. The film should have been a good 40 minutes shorter.
The irony that hits you as the flawed narrative labours on is that the tale is actually a well-intentioned one. The film talks about the caste and class divide that brazenly continues to thrive in our society. It advocates right to education for all. At heart lies the true story of an underdog achiever who beat near-insurmountable odds to achieve what he wanted. Most importantly, the film is an ode to teachers, a community whose significance is rapidly fading in our society.
Yet, all of the above is done in by sheer plasticity. All deliberation on cast and class discrimination, for instance, would seem like mere excuses to stuff in some heavy dialogues. On the subject of education for all, which forms the crux of the screenplay, the film never seems interested in genuinely understanding the socio-politics that scuttles it. Anand Kumar's life story, far more dramatic than most fictional underdog achievers Bollywood routinely peddles, never really gets the scope to overwhelm. (IANS)