Starring: Kartik Aaryan, Kriti Sanon, Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala, Ronit Roy, Rajpal Yadav, Sachin Khedekar, Ankur Rathee
Director: Rohit Dhawan
‘Shehzada’ is essentially about Bantu (Aaryan) realising that he was switched at birth by a conniving father (Rawal), who hopes for a better future for his son (Rathee) in a rich and influential family. After being neglected and disliked by his father for as long as he can remember, Bantu’s life is turned upside down when he realises that he is the true heir – or, as the title indicates, the ‘prince’ – of a billionaire family. What ensues is supposed to be a comedic ride, filled with action and thrill, as Bantu makes a place for himself in the Jindal family’s lives and hearts.
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Touted as an action comedy, the film was one of the much-anticipated releases of the year. While it is not bad for a single time watch, it is perhaps best suited for one of those evenings where you want a ‘leave-your-brain-at-the-door’ film to run in the background as you finish other chores around the house.
Produced jointly by T-Series, Geetha Arts, Haarika & Hassine Creations and Brat Films, the most frustrating thing about the film is that the plot itself has potential and with such a fantastic cast, this potential should’ve been easy to capitalise. Unfortunately, the sloppy direction and the even sloppier screenplay do grave injustice to the film. The comedy is neither slapstick, nor witty; the dialogues try to by funny but fall short of any real comic content; the musical numbers feel forced with mediocre lyrics; and the action scenes are littered with too many unnecessary slow-motion shots.
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2022 was a great year for Aaryan with films like ‘Bhool Bhulaiya 2’ and ‘Freddy’ doing very well both at the box office and in terms of critical acclaim, and 2023 is also set to be a great one with projects like ‘Satyaprem Ki Katha’ already in the pipeline. Let’s hope films such as these are avoided by the rising star in the coming days!