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"Main Hoon Na"

IF ONE starts with the premise that Farah Khan's directorial venture has been only to entertain and nothing else then analysing "Main Hoon Na" is a redundant exercise. Filled with action inspired by films such as "Matrix" , colours that add to vibrancy, songs (Anu Mallik) that make you want to hum , sentiments that want to make you feel maudlin , students who seem to have the best of everything (canteens that feature Pizza Hut, designer track suits, beautiful campuses, hardly any classes, ), a lovable patriotic hero, Major Ram (Shah Rukh Khan) who can set right almost any situation, a bad man Raghavan (Suniel Shetty) , a loving mom (Kiron Kher) ... the list is endless.

In the midst of all this is the wafer thin story, albeit more original than many of the copies popping up these days — of an army guy whose mission is to save his country's honour, his superior's daughter and his own estranged family. Major Ram is one of the best officers in Gen. Bakshi's unit. Looking after his security is Brig. Shekhar Sharma. Ram also happens to be Sharma's son. But there is history there. Which will unfold when he is killed trying to save the General from the bullets of the dreaded Raghavan. There is history here too.

As Shekhar is dying he tells Ram that his soul would never be in peace unless both his sons perform the rite of immersing the ashes of his body. For which Ram has to make amends on his behalf and find the rest of the family - his step mom and his half brother. Also, Gen Bakshi has a daughter studying in Darjeeling and estranged from him and needs protection from the militants. He can assign only the best for the job and Ram is soon sent packing to Darjeeling undercover. Its masala that just couldn't fail. People are loving it emphasising the fact that people want to laugh they want to cry but in the end want the hero to win against all odds.

Besides this is Farah's way of paying a tribute to the industry in which she is an integral part — her appreciation for even those behind the scenes is shown in the end when the credits roll in an innovative fashion.

Shah Rukh Khan has proved yet again that he is a complete star. He is magnetic when it comes to audience reaction and the foundation on which the film is built.

Kiron Kher plays the separated wife and she is rather natural — ever simpering and cloying but genuinely loving and protective. Naseer is a bit wasted as Brigadier Sharma, and Suniel Shetty tries very hard to be menacing. H Zayed Khan is good too given the kind of role he has to play just as Sushmita fits the role envisaged for her. Boman Irani as the absent minded headmaster is a scream just as Satish Shah as the spitting lecturer. Why would they want someone like Bindu to play something that does nothing for the script is beyond reasoning but then that is "Main Hoon Na."

CHITRA MAHESH

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