Bhaiaji Superhit movie review: Sunny Deol rocks a surprisingly fun film
There is an adage about Hindi films — made popular by producers and publicists of said films — that entertaining movies require the viewer to ‘leave their brains at home.’ It is an infuriating line meant to justify not only broad buffoonery, but plot-holes and lazy writing, as filmmakers blame the audience for thinking when they should merely roll over and be tickled. Bhaiaji Superhit addresses this line of thought with an early scene where Sunny Deol tosses a brain into the air and smashes it with his infamous hand. Leave your brains behind, this film threatens, or else…
That approach is taken by many a deafening film about machismo and item numbers, but Bhaiaji Superhit crucially knows how silly it is, and celebrates it. Unlike a Dabanng or Rowdy Rathore or Singham that amp up the melodrama and pretend their hackneyed rape/revenge plots actually matter, this film revels in its lunacy and piles cliché on top of cliché. Director Neerraj Pathak knows he’s making a spoof, and Sunny Deol is in on the joke. Those films literally exist to make the hero look good, whereas here Deol clowns around, draped in technicolor velvet as if styled by Ranveer Singh. (Plus, unlike obscenely expensive monstrosities like Ghajini and Wanted, this is clearly less wasteful.)
Much of the credit goes to Deol’s preposterously infectious smile. In the film’s first action sequence he throws a spectacular double-punch wearing a tender coconut on each hand like a green boxing glove — I promise you this is unforgettable, and should be immortalised as a GIF — and later there are times he slaps other characters so hard he nearly loses his own balance. Yet that smile remains dashing and that charm easy, so it’s fun to watch Deol as the titular Bhaiaji who likes smashing anything in earshot, brings down buildings with a click of a ballpoint pen and wants to win his pretty wife back at all costs.
Preity Zinta makes a comeback in Bhaiaji Superhit.
This aforementioned wife, played fittingly by Preity Zinta, wants also to return at all costs but wants her husband to jump through tighter hoops first, which leads Bhaiaji to kidnap an opportunistic filmmaker to get a movie made about his romance. It’s all tomfoolery, narrated by the inimitable Vijay Raaz and starring gifted comic actors like Pankaj Tripathi, Sanjai Mishra and Arshad Warsi. Warsi plays the name-dropping filmmaker who — very realistically — goes out of his way on the sets to make sure the film’s writer doesn’t make money or get any credit.
Ameesha Patel plays a self-obssessed star in Bhaiaji Superhit.
Then there’s Ameesha Patel, playing a star so self-obsessed she can’t bring herself to call Zinta pretty. On hearing that Zinta’s husband is divorcing her, Patel consoles her by saying “but you’re so… normal.” Some characters speak in Bryan Adams song titles and others boast of lighting their cigars with cannon-fire. At times it feels like the film is set inside an Ajit joke. Deol and Zinta are particularly good sparring off each other. Zinta’s feistiness remains undimmed, and the sparkling actress should be cast in more films.
Bhaiaji Superhit is a good laugh. The chase sequences are punctuated not only with machine-guns but actual grenades, and the climax invokes the ultimate movie cliché: a girl tied to train-tracks. Yet there’s constantly something worth enjoying in this film that refuses to moralise at the very end, and it is often the leading man — hapless, hilarious and never trying too hard. They could have called this movie Philadelphia, because it really is always Sunny.