From a simpleton to a masked vigilante, Harshvardhan Kapoor as Bhavesh Joshi is believable Image: Phantom Films
Name: Bhavesh Joshi Supehero
Cast: Harshvardhan Kapoor, Priyanshu Painyuli, Nishikant Kamat, Ashish Verma
Directed by: Vikramaditya Motwane
You'll like it if you like: Vikramaditya's work, and maybe Nayak
Not all heroes wear capes, some get a paper-bag mask and start a social media channel, Insaaf TV. They pack insaaf punches, make people follow traffic rules, solve the neighbourhood's Internet issues and also low-key (later, full-blown) run an expose on a water scam run by corporator and politicians in Mumbai.
This Vikramaditya Motwane directorial maps the tale of three young guys who take on vigilantism for fun (and love of the country), but later things get real serious, real quick. College kids Bhavesh Joshi (Priyanshu Painyuli), Sikander Khanna (Harshvardhan Kapoor) and Rajat (Ashish Verma) go from talking about Rajat's brainchild Insaaf-Man to becoming Insaaf-Man by taking turns. Though Rajat himself doesn't don the mask, he surely does facilitate insaaf in his own way.
Bhavesh, who loves the country and the city, makes it his life's mission to right some wrongs done by highly influential people, losing his life in the process. But his friend Siku, who was watching the whole thing pan out from the sidelines, assumes his identity and becomes the vigilante-hero – even though he didn't want to.
If you are a fan of DC or Marvel, you'll know how people are not born superheroes but situations make them one. Like Batman or Iron Man for that matter. They are not born with powers but unearth the will in them. But does Bhavesh get as close to Batman or Iron Man? Nope. He's more like Arrow – but no one in this film is a multi-billionaire heir like Oliver Queen, Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark.
Bhavesh is the representation of an Indian youth, one that's willing to go that extra mile to either stop the wrongdoings in the city or to avenge a friend's death.
On the acting front, Harshvardhan is smooth. He is believable as the guy who just did vigilantism in college, completed his Engineering, became a corporate slave and then circumstantially became the masked-hero. But we were also mighty impressed by Priyanshu, who delivered a fine performance. So did Ashish Verma and Nishikant Kamat as the bad guy.
But this superhero film had one major flaw. No women in the lead. It was only men holding up the fort. The only screen-time given to a lady was that to Siku's girlfriend Sneha (Shreiyah Sabharwal) which too, is borderline blink-and-miss. And she's a lawyer BTW, shown at the end of the film.
Insaaf-Man aka Bhavesh Joshi Image: Phantom Films
Direction-wise, of course, we have no doubts that Motwane brought the chips to the table. But he didn't use all of them. The script was co-written by the Phantom trio — Motwane, Anurag Kashyap and Abhay Koranne. Was it water-tight? No. It has flaws. But so does life. The thing about showing a film that reflects reality, at times you need to show those intentional loopholes. But that being said, the film had some real high-points, good chases, laughable and pitiable moments, too.
If you are a fan of Motwane's work, you will not consider this as his best. Nor will you place it at the last. This somewhere floats in between the four directorials he has delivered.
As for Harshvardhan's career? After Mirzya and Bhavesh Joshi, his box office performance might not take him to the same heights of stardom as his contemporaries, but it will definitely earn him critics' praises and a thumbs up from takers of content-backed films.
It is a good watch, but a long one. The first half is trying to make the build-up for the second-half which is good but could have been better. We won't say we were disappointed by the film. But we weren't wowed either.
It was like watching life in Mumbai on the big screen. But we all live the exact one, each day, with Bhavesh-es scattered around us.