This movie out and out belonged to the hero of the film, a new face. A bit of background of HERO is warranted here. Subhash Ghai the self-proclaimed showman of the film industry (a title earlier enjoyed by Raj Kapoor), wanted a replacement for Sanjay Dutt with whom he had a difficult time during the shooting of ‘Vidhataa’ after a search he zeroed in on Jaikishen Kakubhai Shroff or Jackie Shroff as we know him today and who is also lovingly called Jaggu Dada.
Before this movie which catapulted Jackie and the heroine of the film Meenakshi Sheshadri (Miss India 1981) to unprecedented fame, both had done forgettable roles in ‘Swami Dada’ and ‘Painter Babu’ respectively. This blockbuster hit and third highest grosser of the year was released on 16th December 1983. It was refreshing to see new faces in a slightly different narrative while the Big B still ruled the roost in the film industry. It was an instant hit with the youngsters, as the hero and his gang are shown riding bikes a new fad which was gaining ground in India at the time as a slew of 100cc bikes had been or were in the process of being launched.
Pasha (Amrish Puri) a gangster has an axe to grind with the Police Commissioner Shrikant Mathur (Shammi Kapoor) who has imprisoned him. He calls out to his protege Kishen (Jackie) to warn the commissioner, who he does and also kidnaps his daughter Radha (Meenakshi) in the guise of a police officer sent to protect her along with his gang of young biker friends. After a few incidents and some song and dance the two fall in love, but as Kishen knows his own truth, he does not find himself upto Radha’s love. When Radha finds the truth instead of leaving him she embraces him with open arms and makes him surrender to the law.
Radha’s brother Damodar (Sanjeev Kumar) aware of Radha’s love for Kishen and to stall her marriage till Kishen’s release, introduces Jimmy (Shakti Kapoor), his friend, as Radha’s lover. Unknown to Damodar and others Jimmy is a drug smuggler and now himself in love with Radha. Kishen after his release from prison reforms and works as a mechanic but is despised by the commissioner. In the meantime Pasha is seething mad with the goings-on behind his back and wants to take revenge with Srikant and Kishen in collaboration with Jimmy. In a long drawn-out climax ultimately the Hero saves the day.
Jackie’s screen presence was fantastic and won him accolades for this role, the movie introduced this new personality to Bollywood. He went on to star in many blockbuster hits not only in Hindi but even other Indian languages. He is now also seen in many web series and short films. In the first two weeks of its release it was almost written-off but climbed the charts from third week onwards. As any successful movie this too had many remakes in various languages and also later day clones in the Hindi films itself. Subhash Ghai always had an ear for music, thus some of the tracks were good,especially a rare number by the Pakistani singer Reshma ‘Lambi Judaai’ and the youthful ‘Ding Dong’.
The signature flute tune played throughout the movie. It did a business six times its cost. Hero also established a long professional relationship between Jackie and Ghai who went on to make such hits as Karma, Ram Lakhan and Khalnayak together.
– HERO (1983) is revisited by PAWAN GUPTA