Thursday, 26 March 2015

HUNTERRR :: Movie Review

Hunterrr is a quirky adult comedy that takes us through the journey of sexual escapades (spanning a timeline of 25 years) of Mandar Ponkshe portrayed brilliantly on-screen by Gulshan Devaiah through his acting prowess. In the last decade or so, Bollywood has been churning out adult sex comedies like Kya Cool hain hum & Masti which were lapped up by the masses so much so that the makers even made sequels of these movies. Though, Hunterrr also belongs to the same genre but this movie is a different ball game altogether. Where as movies like Masti & its ilk relied on obnoxiously named characters, below the belt jokes & forced gags for the laughter content, Hunterrr is devoid of all these elements. In Hunterrr, the humor quotient flows along with the narrative through its well etched characters who mouth some real quirky dialogues. It is in stark contrast to other mindless adult comedies that we have been subjected to watch in the past viz a viz its crafting and storytelling. Harshavardhan Kulkarni (writer & director) has tried to keep things as close to reality as possible without adding any dash of gloss or glamor in the movie which works hugely in its favor. He has assembled talented but not so popular ensemble starcast due to which he has been able to portray realistic looking Indian middle class milieu on-screen which lends an authentic touch to the movie. Coming back to Mandar or Vaasu, the reason why he calls himself  Vaasu is because he is an expert in sniffing out the sexual needs of women. He is so obsessed with sex and trying his Vaasugiri with various women that he doesn't believe in love or getting married. When his friends coax him to get married and leave Vaasugiri, he justifies his acts by saying that having sex is a biological need. He tries to prove his point by saying that sex is also as big a necessity as going to the loo every morning for defecating.  In fact, the evolution of Mandar Ponkshe into Vaasu (that is how he likes to call himself ) in the first half is a treat to watch but alias ! the second half fizzles out and fails to keep up the pace with the brilliance of first half. The scenes depicting Mandar's childhood where he goes to his native village along with his cousin Dilip & learns some tricks of the trade from his elder cousin, Surya are fun to watch. Surya is a carefree bird who never goes to urinals for peeing but likes to water down dry plants. It is charming to see young Mandar (Vedant Muchandi) dispense advice to his classmates on how to impress girls by saying that always go for the second best girl as uske patne ke chance jyada hote hain while he himself gets perplexed after a girl cross questions him after he proposes to her. But soon he develops the skills, becomes Vaasu who is an expert at sniffing out sexual needs of women and becomes the Hunterrr. It is only when Trupti (Radhika Apte) enters his life that cupid strikes him and he begins to think of tying nuptial knot with her leaving his Vaasugiri behind. I would also like to add here that his high libido and desperation not only provide him with various sexual encounters but also often land him in troublesome situations. To mention a few ; twelve year old Mandar has half his head tonsured when cops catch him watching a porn movie at a local video parlor, he is thrown out of college hostel when he sneaks in his girlfriend (Veera Saxena) in his hostel room, he is beaten and chased by group of young guys when he tries to hit out at one of their girl friend at a bar. It is exasperating to watch Hunterrr fizzle away in the second half because of some contrived storytelling and some sloppy editing especially when the film seems like a breath of fresh air in the first half.

STORY & SCREENPLAY    ( Spoilers Ahead )                                                       ::            The story of the movie has been penned down by Harshavardhan Kulkarni who is also the director of this movie. Kudos to him for penning down a storyline which is an adult comedy but not at all a sex comedy laden with all the sleazy elements. He has ably kept the storyline devoid of vulgarity and concentrated more on the sexual journey of the movie's protagonist. He has kept the narrative simple and so close to realism that some part of audience might be able to relate the journey of Mandar with theirs' or any of their friends'.  This is where his writing scores big time as you can make an instant connect with on-screen proceedings. He has ably showcased that apart from being a sex addict, Mandar has an emotional side too. His close bonding with his cousins and the way he weeps uncontrollably after the sudden demise of his cousin, Surya, shows his softer side. While Harshavardhan is able to catch hold of your attention in the first half with the character development of Mandar, his hold on the script falters in the second half. Frequent oscillations in the narrative and elongated second half spoils most of the charm that has been ably built in the first half making it an average flick, out of what could have been a brilliant path breaking adult comedy. But, Harshavardhan Kulkarni & Vijay Maurya deserve a big applause for penning down some real quirky dialogues which have added to the fun quotient of the movie. The movie begins with a telecon between Mandar Ponkshe  (Gulshan Devaiah) and his fiancee Trupti (Radhika Apte). After that the narrative begins to oscillate frequently to show the journey of Mandar turning into Vaasu. Hereafter, the narrative gets carried forward with a series of flashbacks merging into present making it a constant feature till the movie ends. Young Mandar (Vedant Muchandi) goes to his native village along with his cousin, Dilip (Kshitij Kothari) where they catch up with their elder cousin, Surya (Viraj Deshmukh) who is the smartest of all & teaches them tricks of Vaasugiri. Soon, Mandar develops confidence and goes across to propose a girl and befriends her. Hereafter, there is no looking back for Mandar who becomes a champion at Vaasugiri i.e. smelling the needs of a woman and his sex-escapades begin. While studying in college, Mandar befriends Parul (Veera Saxena) & soon she is found hidden in his hostel room getting him expelled from his hostel. He takes a room on rent so that Parul can visit him frequently out there. Now that he has become a hunter, he hunts down another married female Jyotsna (Sai Tamhankar) who lives across his building. Soon, they both start frequenting each others' houses for obvious reasons. He also hunts down another lady for his sexual desires whose name is stored in Mandar's mobile by the name of Savita Bhabhi. After he is chased by a group of boys in a pub calling him uncle & pressure put up by his cousin, Dilip (Sagar Deshmukh), Mandar decides to meet up with  prospective girls for tying up nuptial knot. After meeting couple of them, he meets Trupti (Radhika Apte) and falls in love with her. Now, the irony is that Trupti is a free spirited girl who openly brags about her past affairs & broken engagement in front of Mandar where as Mandar is afraid to disclose his past Vaasugiri to her & pretends to be doodh ka dhula in front of her. After a couple of meetings both of them get engaged. Since Mandar has truly fallen in love with Trupti, his subconscious keeps on haunting him about hiding his past from her. One fine day, dead drunk Mandar decides to go and confess about his colorful past to Trupti. Will Trupti accept him after hearing about his past Vaasugiri, Will Mandar be able to mend his ways and marry Trupti is what forms the rest of the movie.           

STARCAST                                                                                    ::             One of the main highlights of the movie is apt & natural performances by its starcast for which due credit must be given to its casting director. Gulshan Devaiah is one of the most versatile actors who has already proven his acting finesse by playing diverse characters in movies like Shaitan, Dum Maro Dum, Hate Story & Ram Leela. In Hunterrr, he got the chance to play the main protagonist and boy ! with the kind of performance he has delivered, it won't be wrong to say that he is the soul of this movie. He has carried the whole movie on his broad shoulders and the best part is that he makes you feel for the character of Mandar despite him being a skirt chaser. He is one brilliant actor who has displayed myriad number of emotions in this movie. You get to see him in various avatars in this movie ; sensual Mandar making love to Jyotsna, Flirtatious & naughty Mandar chasing Parul, sentimental Mandar crying like a child on death of his cousin & innocent looking Mandar who after falling in love with Trupti wants to go and reveal all the truth about his past and he has emoted with equal amount of finesse in all these avatars. It is definitely his best performance till date. Radhika Apte who recently garnered lot of appreciation with respect to her extended cameo in Badlapur is back with a bang in Hunterrr. She has portrayed the character of Trupti in the most natural and realistic way. She looks every inch the free spirited girl who has no qualms about disclosing her past affairs to the guy she is meeting with prospect of getting married. Watch out for her in the scene where she urges Mandar to go & strike a conversation with an unknown girl buying lingerie in street market. Her timing and acting abilities are effortless and she deserves to be seen more frequently on big screen. Another top notch performance has been delivered by Sagar Deshmukh who plays Dilip, cousin cum confidante of Mandar. His performance is as realistic and natural as it can be and it doesn't seem as if the guy is acting. Watch out for him in the scene where he accompanies Mandar to Trupti's house in an auto rickshaw but not without carrying Chicken wings in his hand. Sai Tamhankar has given an earnest & sizzling performance as Jyotsna and her love making scene with Gulshan has come out real sensuous. Veera Saxena, who makes her debut with Hunterrr has given a descent performance as Parul. Vedant Muchandi as young Mandar, Kshitij as young Dilip have delivered excellent performances. Amongst ensemble starcast noticeable performances have been portrayed by Vaibhav Tatwawdi, Neena Kulkarni, Ravindra Mankani, Suraj Jagan, Abhijit Wagh & Nitesh Pandey.

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                                 ::             The musical soundtrack of the movie has been composed by Khamosh Shah who is a protege of music maestro A.R.Rahman. Most of the tracks that he has composed are situational which gel well with the flow of narrative and none of the songs seems to have been injected into the screenplay just for the heck of it. The music is melodious and pleasing to ears. Two songs namely Hunterrr 303 sung by Bappi Lahiri & Dil Lagaana by Altaf Raja stand out and are more catchy. The background music of the movie that has been composed by Hitesh Sonic is apt enough and syncs well with the on-screen proceedings. The cinematography of the movie that has been handled by John Jacob Payyapalli leaves a lot to be desired. Agreed that the movie has been shot in most realistic way and is devoid of gloss but the lighting and color palettes at several junctures of the movie seem inadequate. The movie has been edited by Kirti Nakhwa who has packaged the whole action in runtime of 141 minutes. There are two flaws in the editing ; first is the duration of the movie which should have been more crisper especially in the second half and secondly, the frequent oscillations in the narrative make audience loose their interest in the on screen proceedings after a certain time-span.Had the editing been more crisp, it would have done a huge favor to the prospects of the movie. A special mention of Taaneevaa Oak (Costume designer) & Sandeep Shelar (Production designer) who with their brilliant work have been able to recreate a typical Maharashtrian milieu in the movie. As a debutant director, Harshavardhan Kulkarni scores brownie points for taking up a subject that openly talks about sex rather than opting for a typical commercial potboiler script while helming his first movie. To make a good film on this subject, a director needs to craft the movie with lot of sensitivity & maturity which he has ably succeeded in. As a writer & director, he assembled talented starcast and etched out their characters to perfection who have portrayed their respective parts in the most realistic way. Unfortunately, he is let down by the stretched second half where the movie begins to falter. As a director, Kulkarni has proved that he has the crafting abilities and is here to stay.

CONCLUSION                                                                                   ::              HUNTERRR is well & honestly conceived adult comedy which doesn't offend you with its content despite sex featuring as a recurring theme throughout the movie. The movie strikes a fine balance between naughtiness and vulgarity by not offering anything sleazy. If naughty journey to adulthood portrayed in a realistic & quirky manner fancies you, you might relish this movie. I am giving it 3 stars out of 5.    

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