Phata Poster Nikhla Hero was directed by Rajkumar Santoshi and is very similar in style and tone to his previous film, 2009’s Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani. Shahid is super cute in PPNH, displaying his gift for comedy and looking damn good in an expertly tailored police uniform. Ileana D’Cruz is the love interest and I’m afraid I don’t have much to say about her except that she looks really pretty. On the other hand, Padmini Kolhapure as Shahid’s mother really stood out for me. I thought she looked gorgeous – with her round face, tidy hair and saris, and minimal makeup she put me strongly in mind of a 1960s movie heroine. However, there is a lot of “Mama Drama” (to borrow a phrase) in the movie, so YMMV. The songs are good, it’s always nice to see Shahid do a little dancing, but they sometimes felt like pale imitations of APKGK‘s songs, and with only one exception I felt like they were awkwardly inserted into the movie. Bottom line: wholesome and gently entertaining.
R…Rajkumar, directed by Prabhu Deva, left me, frankly, astonished. It is in every way a tacky Tamil masala movie – except that it’s in Hindi. No effort seems to have been made to adapt the film for North Indian sensibilities. Those who know me know I am an unapologetic fan of the South Indian masala movie, but even for me some of these movies are just too vulgar and they stop being entertaining – and R…Rajkumar is like that. The late Srihari plays the big bad, sporting a hideous suit and orange highlights, smashing half-full glasses of whiskey on a random rooftop somewhere surrounded by scantily-clad white women. The climactic fight sequence is interminable and the movie doesn’t even provide fanservice because both Shahid and Sonu Sood keep their shirts on. An unknown woman is raped by a police officer, the heroine is threatened with rape by her fiancé, and is beaten with a belt by her uncle.
One of the movie’s few redeeming features is Prabhu Deva’s obvious affection for Sonakshi Sinha and as a result, I think, he has her playing quite a feisty character. She doesn’t mope around crying when she’s betrothed against her will, for example, but burns her wedding invitations in the middle of her bedroom floor. I was once scolded a little bit on a certain online Bollywood forum for remarking on the chemistry between Shahid and Chandan Roy Sanyal in Kaminey. But he’s at it again in R…Rajkumar, bromancing Mukul Dev, who plays Sonu Sood’s right-hand man. And in the end Mukul’s love for Shahid helps save him, just as much as Sonakshi’s. Ah, and then there are the songs. It truly is a pleasure watching Shahid execute Prabhu Deva’s choreography. Bottom line: just watch the songs, and skip the rest.