Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

February 8, 2008

Duplicate dilemma

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 7:26 pm

February 08, 2008

Cast: Kunal Khemu, Tulip Joshi, Sharad Saxena, Reema Lagoo

Director: Rohit Jugraj

Who can’t relate to the neighbourhood kid who’s desperate to become a movie-star at any cost? In director Rohit Jugraj’s Superstar, Kunal Khemu plays that guy-next-door, who much to his father’s disappointment, chooses to spend his time struggling it out as a film extra in dusty studios, rather than take up a respectable nine-to-five job.

A dreamer who sees himself reach for the stars like the Bachchans, the Khans and the Kapoors, reality sadly has a different plan for Kunal, who at best manages to land his few seconds of fame every time the camera lingers just long enough for him to be spotted in the crowd of background dancers, behind the hero. However, his life changes overnight when he’s hired to be the duplicate for a young actor with whom he shares an uncanny resemblance. Before he knows it, he’s up there dancing with the heroine, then beating up the bad guys, all the while the camera fixed on his close-up. But the irony of the situation doesn’t escape him — the only reason he’s been picked out of a crowd to do this job is because he “looks” like the hero!

Dodging clichés and moving at a healthy pace, the screenplay of Superstar shifts gears and goes into predictable territory when it breaks for intermission, ultimately losing whatever ground was covered in the film’s speedy first half. What could have easily been a dramatic story about friendships and egos turns into that mundane tale about obligation and responsibility that you’ve seen several times before.

Neatly directed by Rohit Jugraj, Superstar isn’t entirely unwatchable. In fact, by typical Hindi film standards, it’s an above average film with solid production values and a fantastic performance at its very core. Kunal Khemu anchors this film with such rare maturity, he’s a revelation.

If you leave the cinema with a heavy heart it’s not because the film sucked, no it’s because here’s a film that could have been so much more. So there, I’m going with two out of five for director Rohit Jugraj’s Superstar, give it a chance, you might just be surprised.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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