Heroes is loosely inspired by Walter Salles' 2004 film Motorcycle Diaries. Diaries is the recreation of an 8000 mile long trip from Argentina to Peru undertaken in 1952 by Che Guevara and his close friend.
The film is a beautifully enacted and poignant road movie, which attempts to establish why Che Guevara became who he did. Salles' movie was criticised for being too benign but it was deeply felt and extremely moving.
Director Sameer Karnik takes the basic premise of two friends on a life-altering road trip and tacks on a hugely melodramatic, patriotic angle.
The friends, two spoilt, rich, apathetic film school graduates, set out to make a movie on why people should not join the army.
They shoot themselves delivering three letters to bereaved families, written by soldiers who died earlier in battle. But this journey into the Indian heartland and the families of the Indian armed forces, makes them examine their own lives. Eventually one says: Garv ek chota sa shabd nahin. Yeh jeene ka kaaran hai.
Heroes could have been an effective patriotic drama. There are moments when Karnik succeeds in bringing a lump to your throat. But mostly the film is played at such a high pitch that it's hard to take any of it too seriously.
For one, co-lead Sohail Khan is barely convincing as a student. The actor has just about started to pull off goofball roles well. Asking him to carry heavyduty emotional scenes is seriously stretching his meager acting talent.
Karnik doesn't believe in subtlety, so every thought is underlined by dialogue, expression and background music. His intentions are noble but his treatment is clumsy and heavy-handed.
He also bungs in several unnecessary songs one of which has Vatsal Seth and Sohail dancing in their boxers. By the time, the boys do their bit for the nation by reconciling a grieving father to his son's death, I was exhausted and having some decidedly unpatriotic thoughts. Heroes had the potential to be a far better film that it is. See it if you must.