Papa Shekhar Suman does well in his directorial debut, but should have given the copy of the Hollywood flick Awake a better name
There are some movies that make you want to stay in the theatre to watch the whole thing and beyond. Then there are some for which you want a refund of your ticket money. Then there is a middle path, where you think its okay-okay and cannot decide to leave or to stay. Heartless, starring Adhyayan Suman and Ariana Ayam and directed by Shekhar Suman is a mix of all three.
The film is saddled with a thin premise that’s stretched to its breaking point. The movie’s heart is in the right place, but the many loopholes in the script make you guffaw. It is an above-average thriller with unforeseeable twists that will make you heave a sigh at times. Wondering where the film falters? Very simply, below-average performances. Also, as an exact copy of the Hollywood flick Awake – which the makers hardly acknowledge and have reportedly been in trouble for – it becomes almost unbearable. And even when you leave the hall, you wonder: Why is the movie called ‘Heartless‘?
The concept is novel. Bollywood has rarely explored the dimensions of a medical thriller. The genre is new and you can applaud Shekhar Suman to have the means and the courage to bring something different to the audience. But what I can’t fathom is why he didn’t hire a medically qualified doctor to assist him while writing the script, especially while making a film that is set for the most part in a hospital?
The plot has more holes in it than a tea strainer. As someone who knows a little about medicine, I felt that there should have been a warning label attached to the movie just after the disclaimer, reading: Don’t watch this film if you have any knowledge of surgery or are with someone who does. In the first case you would spend the entire length of the film huffing with annoyance and in the second, you would be wondering why your companion is rolling his/her eyes skyward throughout.
The story: Adyayan Suman stars as Aditya Singh, a high-powered businessman, living his life nicely when misery strikes. He suddenly becomes an ideal candidate for a risky heart transplant after discovering that he has a weak heart. In spite of his mother Deepti Naval’s protests, he allows his friend Dr. Sameer Saxena (Shekhar Suman) to perform the dangerous operation. Things start going wrong halfway through and Aditya is accidentally awake throughout the rest of the painful procedure. In medical terms, this situation is called ‘anesthesia awareness’ – a patient is not given enough anesthesia before surgery and is fully paralysed, but feels all the pain. This sounds like something different from the likes of Jai Ho and Yaariyan, hai na? But while this makes for a good read, when you see the film you realise that things have gone awfully wrong.
For all those who read the quick review, you will know how pathetic the movie is… in the first half. It was all songs, dance and romance in a film that promises to be a thriller. Adhyayan plays the rich boy better than expected in the first half, but his enthusiasm vanishes in the second half, when the story actually picks up pace. There is a point when Adhyayan’s spirit emerges from his body and roams the halls of the hospital trying to talk to people and make them aware of his situation. But what should have been spooky and touching is just very funny. The twists in the end are good, but once you know what they are, you will think: “All that drama, for just this!”
Shekhar Suman does well as both the doctor and the director of the film. Wish we could say the same about Adhyayan and debutante Ariana Ayam. The songs were not the best as audio tracks, but a few were good in context, with the visuals. Deepti Naval is the best in spite of her minimal screen presence. The twist that she brings in at the end makes you remember the dialogue: “Aakhir maa hi kaam aayi, naa!”
This movie is a good enough medical thriller with some not so good acting by the leads, along with a lot of shortcomings in the script. It is, however, different from the high flying action masala South remakes that Salman Khan specialises in. But the lack of knowledge of medicine and surgery plays spoilsport. Thus Heartless, a nogginful of Novocaine about a botched heart surgery, could give you an urgent need for brain surgery!
Reviewed by Prateek Sur
**** Very good