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'Ganapath: A Hero Is Born' movie review - Sad Max, anyone?

Updated on: 21 October,2023 07:07 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Hiren Kotwani |

'Ganapath: A Hero Is Born' movie review: What makes Ganapath different from the saviour-hero films of yore is that director Bahl has tried to make it look like the desi Mad Max of sorts, albeit with unimpressive design and poor packaging

'Ganapath: A Hero Is Born' movie review - Sad Max, anyone?

A still from the film

Ganapath: A Hero Is Born  
U/A: Fantasy, thriller 
Dir: Vikas Bahl
Cast: Tiger Shroff, Kriti Sanon, Amitabh Bachchan
Rating: 1.5/5

The story of Ganapath is set in a dystopian world. A great war has ravaged most of the earth, leaving the rich, powerful, and greedy to enjoy themselves in a high-tech Silver City, while the have-nots have been banished beyond the electrified walls to fight amongst themselves while scavenging for survival.

The first of the two-part movie opens with a mother answering her hungry son’s query on when their sufferings will end. She recalls Dalapati’s (Amitabh Bachchan) prediction that their saviour, Ganapath, would soon arrive to rescue them from their plight. Guddu (Tiger Shroff) is unconcerned by their suffering, having been pulled out of the slums and adopted by the powerful John (Ziad Bakri) when he was just an infant. He is happy with his life—partying and womanising—when he is not managing fights for John. Till he is accused of making moves on his master’s girl and is buried beside her for betraying John’s trust.

Like the quintessential Hindi film hero, Guddu doesn’t die and is guided on the path to become Ganapath—the messiah he was predestined to be. Of course, with some help from Jassi (Kriti Sanon), whom he falls in love with, and intensive and extensive training by Shiva (Rashin Rahman). While defeating John is no cakewalk, his real battle as the saviour of the masses remains to be seen in the second part, whenever it comes.

Shroff once again proves that he is the best dancer and action hero of his generation. The film plays to his strengths and doesn’t give him scope for anything else—least of all, emoting. However, after a point, it all seems like déjà vu when compared to his previous outings. For a change, it would be great to see Shroff focus on his emotions. Sanon, who received the Best Actress National Award for Mimi earlier this week, doesn’t get much scope to perform in this either. Having said that, the actor compensates by dabbling in action sequences and acing them, particularly when she uses the nunchaku. The only other saving grace in the film is Bachchan, but given his limited screen time, there is only so much he can do to inspire the team. Rahman lends due support as Shiva. However, Bakri’s John is barely formidable as an antagonist, which only goes to showcase director-writer Vikas Bahl’s lacklustre writing. At no point would the audience be convinced to root for Guddu/Ganapath.

What makes Ganapath different from the saviour-hero films of yore is that director Bahl has tried to make it look like the desi Mad Max of sorts, albeit with unimpressive design and poor packaging. After making his debut as a writer and director with Chillar Party (along with Nitesh Tiwari), he followed it up with Queen. Bahl delivered with Super 30, and his last, Goodbye, was a decent fare too. However, with Ganapath, he seems to have bitten off far more than he can chew, like in his Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt-starrer, Shaandaar (2015). Bahl’s vision clearly hasn’t inspired the film’s technical team to deliver their best either.

The slums look more like a huge junkyard, and the VFX used to showcase an opulent Silver City come off as cheap and lack finesse. Production design by Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray is below par, while Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti’s cinematography is at best average and does no justice to the otherwise breath-taking locales of Leh-Ladakh. The soundtrack is only to push Shroff’s dancing skills to the fore, but it adds little value to the film. The music is rather forgettable.

Just before the laborious 136-minute bizarre set ends, you are reminded that Ganapath will rise again in the second part. Surely, Mad Max deserves a better Indian counterpart, as do Shroff and Sanon.

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