Hunterrr : “Long” one but “weak” performer
Phantom Films is on a roll since it started operations back in 2013. All its films till now got good response, decent reviews, if not great box office success barring “Queen”. Most of these are average business grosser but all are appreciated for the quality of the content.
After the fabulous “NH10” released last week, Phantom comes back with “Hunterrr” which is a different kind of sex comedy. A more realistic and direct approach, but still a sex comedy only. It is about a playboy or Casanova kind of person who is on a hunt for girls to satisfy his sexual urge. He does not fit in the social norms and ethics and all he can think about is having sex.
Mandar Ponkshe (Gulshan Devaiah) is mentored by his cousin (Vaibhav Tatvavadi, A Nagpurian) from the teen age days to become a player or hunter, commonly known in Marathi Language as “Vaasu”. Since the days of school, while trying the adventures at video parlors to watch adult movies, Mandar gains the skills to attract and use the fairer sex for his lustful desires. The film revolves around his different “Sexapades” woven around his love track with Trupti (Radhika Apte) and how he realizes importance of love and finally achieves it.
Set in a Marathi environment showcasing a rural, small town and typical Marathi Pune/Mumbai kind of atmosphere, the film is in “Vernacular” Hindi. It brings up nostalgia about the teenage years spent with cousins in summer vacations, school and college days spent while dying to talk and meet girls and all that unguided awakening of one’s sexual desires.
The story is unique and daring. While Harshavadhan Kulkarni shall be applauded to bring such a taboo subject on screen, it is sad that he misses the opportunity to turn into a quality film. The screenplay is spread everywhere without a proper shape, flow or format to it. A good idea is marred by flawed screenplay. Dialogues are daringly direct and witty.
In the Director’s chair, Harshawardhan Kulkarni shows promise but his decision to keep everything that is shot in the film makes it lethargic and unnecessarily stretched. Adding to the woes, Kirti Nakhwa, the film editor, fails in turning the film into a fast paced, witty and entertaining narration and serves a lengthy 140 mins of clueless film reel. There are a multiple unneeded tracks and hold moments which could have been deleted ruthlessly for the benefit of the film.
Harshawardhan successfully creates the ambiance using the sepia color tones, retro music and references to movies and music of the appropriate time. He unabashedly displays the life as it is while keeping the innocence and warmth in relations alive. Though we all are used to mouthing the words and dialogues used in the movie, it is shamefully hilarious to watch and listen it on celluloid.
Though the film has its own moments and has all the content which could have made it a hilarious take on teenage years and playboy maneuvers, unfortunately due to wrong choices at the writing, direction and editing stages, it does not reach to its full potential. Overall, Harshawardhan lacks the grip on the movie.
Casting for this movie must have been a big exercise as it has 2 set of actors (school days and college days) with a lot of ensemble cast around. Casting is accurately done and each actor suits the role they play. Gulshan Devaiah plays the shameless and lustful, yet adorable Protagonist convincingly. He is an unusual choice for playing the lead but he does carry the film on his shoulders with earnestness of a common man who is not good but not extremely bad either. He makes sure that even if you may not like his character, you do not end up hating him also.
Radhika Apte shines in her role as a modern day urban girl who had her own past with multiple relationships and is confused about getting into an arranged marriage situation. Sai Tamhankar, who plays a housewife falling pray to Mandar’s Vaasugiri with her own consent, sets screen on fire with her hot scenes. Veera Saxena plays the low on esteem average looking girl who seriously loves Mandar, perfctly. Vaibhav Tatvavadi touches heart with his author backed role of a playboy who is compassionate enough to save a girl being raped by her own father and marry her even after having a lot many better looking girl friends. Other actors in various characters did justice to the movie.
Cinematography by John Jacob Payyapalli is in tune with the mood of the film. It is realistic, raw and maintains the retro texture wherever needed. Music too has similar feel which brings the essence of the times the movie segments are set in. It pays tribute to the disco days and “tum to thahare pardesi” days by getting Bappi Lahari and Altaf Raja (Another Nagpurian) on board to sing a song each. Music by Khamosh Shah is in sync with the retro feel but is not long lasting.
Overall, Hunterrr had the content and potential which is wasted and what we finally get is a lengthy and boring film. “Bada” hai to Behtar hai ” does not work here.
Recommendation : Avoid it and watch it on TV/DVD or internet where u can fast forward the slow portions. But if can’t wait to relive the lustful teenage and collage years on big screen, then you may watch it with a warning to that you will get bored.