Shehzada: Kartik Aaryan Tries Hard But This ‘Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo’ Remake Lacks Commercial Grip

Shehzada (Hindi)

Director: Rohit Dhawan

Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Paresh Rawal, Kriti Sanon, Ronit Roy, Sachin Kundalkar, Manisha Koirala, Rajpal Yadav, and others.

Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Allu Aravind, Kartik Aaryan, Aman Gill, and S Radha Krishna

Original story and screenplay: Trivikram

Music: Pritam

Duration: 2 hours 26 minutes

Trivikram’s Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo isn’t an example of great cinema. It is a commercial template film with all the elements of the 1980s and 1990s.

The storyline of Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, which raked in somewhere between $260-280 crore at the Box Office, was also hugely problematic.

However, what worked for it was its packaging. Director Trivikram Srinivas understands the pulse of the mass and as a result, he delivered an entertaining cocktail of romance, comedy, action, and drama.

The story

For those who haven’t seen Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, it is necessary to narrate the story in brief.

Shehzada starts with Valmiki (Paresh Rawal) in the midst of child swapping. He is extremely jealous of multi-millionaire Randeep Jindal (Ronit Roy).

Both of them had started their journey on the same scooter, but Randeep’s life took a turn for the better when the boss made him his son-in-law. The daughter is Yashu (Manisha Koirala).

There is a lot of inner resentment at this sudden change of fortune in Valmiki, resulting in the swapping of his baby with Randeep’s baby.

Randeep’s real son grows up as Valmiki’s son in a middle-class neighbourhood, while Valmiki’s son leads a luxurious life.

…And it continues

Cut to the present, Bantu (Kartik Aaryan) cannot understand why his father has more affection for Randeep’s son Raj (Ankur Rathee).

Mid way, Bantu learns of his true identity, which serves as the ideal time for an intermission.

As a true blue-blooded hero, he decides to solve the various problems of the Jindal household and also save them from a villainous gang led by Sarang (Sunny Hinduja).

Kriti Sanon plays the lawyer-cum-girlfriend (Samara). Sachin Kundalkar reprises his role from the original as the lovable grandfather.

It was Allu Arjun’s magic

Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo success was also hugely aided by the sheer screen presence of Allu Arjun, who made the audiences look past the many problematic elements.

The equation between Allu Arjun’s Bantu and Murali Sharma’s Valmiki was a major highlight. In fact, Murali Sharma can be called the second hero of the film.

S Thaman also contributed majorly by giving blockbuster music.

Director Rohit Dhawan tries to replicate the same energy with the remake. However, Shehzada turns out to be a dull cousin that makes the original look like a masterpiece.

Shehzada also has a few moments with Kartik Aaryan and Paresh Rawal trying their darnedest best but, unfortunately, their efforts aren’t enough to salvage this wreck.

But Kartik does his best

Before diving into the negatives, let’s cover some positives. Allu Arjun’s shoes are difficult to fill, let’s accept that first. He has a distinct swag that is tough to replicate.

Kartik Aaryan has done comedy and romance in the past too, but this one requires him to be an all-round hero.

To Kartik’s credit, he does embrace the film’s many absurdities with conviction. He brings a certain charm to the lighter moments. He is also good in the emotional scenes.

Paresh Rawal is a vastly experienced actor whose skills need no particular introduction. As Valmiki, the actor brings his usual gravitas. His scenes with Kartik are some of the redeeming parts of the film.

Music not on par with the original

Pritam’s music is no match for what S Thaman had created, but it’s not completely terrible either.

The title track sung by Sonu Nigam is quite groovy and does make you tap your feet. The romantic number Mera Sawaal ka, featuring Kartik and Kriti, is also quite enjoyable to watch and hear.

Some of the one-liners written by Hussain Dalal do bring a smile to the audience’s face. A mention here must be made of the scene between Rajpal Yadav and Kartik Aaryan.

Rajpal Yadav plays a police officer who comes to investigate the murder attempt on Randeep. The scene of Bantu explaining what is happening in the Jindal household leaves the audience in splits.

Lack of conviction

The biggest problem with Shehzada is the lack of conviction in the storytelling.

Rohit Dhawan’s style is clearly influenced by his dad David Dhawan, but Shehzada lacks the energy and wittiness of the best of David Dhawan films.

Stories like Shehzada primarily work based on how successful the director is in building a make-believe world, and Rohit falters here.

To Rohit’s credit, however, he does remove many of the unnecessary characters from the original, but it doesn’t help the film in any way as it mostly turns out to be a showreel for Kartik Aaryan.

Fleeting appearances

Characters appear and disappear at the fancy of the director. One example of this is the actor who plays Bantu’s sister. She sporadically appears in the first half and, in the later half, she is never seen again.

The portrayal of the rich kid in the original was also filled with lazy stereotypes, but here the director dumbs down the character to a whole new level.

Ankur Rathee as Raj comes across as more annoying than lazy. His emotional outburst leads to unintentional comedy rather than help the audience feel for the character.

Kriti Sanon is less objectified than Pooja, but her role as a feisty lawyer is absolutely dispensable. Ronit Roy and Manisha Koirala are sincere, but they deserved much more.

Verdict

In a nutshell, Shehzada is a poor replica that the Hindi film industry could have done away with.

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