Hunterrr Movie Review

Hunterrr If you thought that ‘sex’ was a forbidden word in Bollywood, then pinch yourself hard and think again. For these are the days when Bollywood filmmakers have taken a giant leap and have graduated into many other arenas which are gustier than the three lettered forbidden word. The recent era has witnessed Bollywood spinning many a sex comedies in the form of KYAA KOOL HAIN HUM, KYAA SUPER KOOL HAIN HUM, GRAND MASTI and likes. But, this week’s release HUNTERRR, despite falling in the same ‘genre’, does not qualify to be a sex-comedy, as it’s more of ‘coming-of-age’ film. Does HUNTERRR actually manage to ‘come of age’ or is it a case of an ‘old wine in a new bottle’? Lets analyze.

The film starts off with the self-confessed ‘Vaasu’ aka Mandar Ponkshe (Gulshan Devaiah) and his interaction with his fiancée Trupti (Radhika Apte). The film, then, runs into a flashback, only to be merged with the present. These series of flashback to the present day situations forms a regular fixture in the film, and that is how the film gets carried forward. The film traces Mandar’s life’s story and all the situations which led him to what he is today. Despite all his friends getting married, Mandar wants to remain unmarried for three basic reasons. While the first reason is that he is marriage-phobic, the second is that he doesn’t believe in the concept of falling in ‘love’ and the last reason is that he feels that marriage will curb all his ‘vaasugiri’… something which he has been doing since his younger days! The flashback also shows him as a school student bunking classes and getting into a sleaze video parlour to see an adults film… only to be caught by the cops and paraded in public with his head half shaved! As he grows ‘up’, he starts understanding the ‘wants of a woman’ and thus, he becomes a ‘hunter’ of sorts. And his hunted ‘objects’ include the married lady Jyotsna (Sai Tamhankar), Parul (Veera Saxena) and a handful of other catches (which also includes the very proverbial ‘Savita Bhabhi’). Amidst all this, he comes across a very carefree Trupti, whom he gets engaged to. But the problem is that, Mandar, in order to impress her, says that he is a very ‘doodh ka dhula’ type of man and is far away from the world of sex, affairs, women and likes. On the other hand, the frank and outspoken Trupti makes it very clear about her past affairs and also a broken engagement. The problem starts when Mandar realizes that he has actually fallen in love with Trupti and that he must go and confess before her about his ‘vaasugiri’ activities. That’s when he alongwith his cousin-cum-friend-cum-confidante Yusuf (Sagar Deshmukh) gets drunk and an intoxicated Mandar goes to confess to knock on Trupti’s door at the wee hours.

Does an highly intoxicated Mandar succeed in coming clean before Trupti, does Trupti accept Mandar despite knowing about all his ‘vaasugiri’, what was the reason for Trupti’s broken engagement and what happens to all of Mandar’s past affairs is what forms the rest of the film.

Technically, HUNTERRR is Harshavardhan Kulkarni’s debut film as a director (the short film LOST & FOUND notwithstanding). This man clearly seems to know the message that he wants to convey through the film. Full marks to him for making this ‘sex’ film, without making it look vulgar. Even though there are some places (esp. in the second half) where the film starts to struggle (read ‘stretched’), Harshavardhan has ensured that the film progresses smoothly by hook or by crook. The film’s oscillation between the past and the present act as speed breaker, in the otherwise smooth film. As far as the performances are concerned, no prizes for guessing that it’s none other than Gulshan Devaiah who leads the hunter gang. His exhibition of comic timing is very sincere and is as much believable as his ‘timing’ for sexual overtures and raw ‘sensualness’. By the end of the film, he lands up convincing the viewer as to why is he the apt choice for the role. As far as the heroines in the film are concerned, it’s a very tricky to analyze as to who ‘scored’ over the other. While Sai Tamhankar provides all the necessary chutzpah that was required to spice up her role, she lands up making absolutely no mistakes while bringing the film to its climax (no pun intended). Veera Saxena, who makes her debut with this film, is decent and delivers her part comfortably. On the other hand, it’s the fiery Radhika Apte, who, after garnering rave reviews for her last release BADLAPUR, comes up with yet another stunner of a performance in HUNTERRR. Her timing is as effortless as her acting abilities. She is definitely a name to watch out for. Sagar Deshmukh, on his part, does a commendable job. The rest of the characters (Rachel Dsouza, Nitesh Pandey and others) do their bit to take this film forward.

The music of the film (Khamosh Shah) could have been further fine-tuned a bit more. On the other hand, the film’s background music (Hitesh Sonik) takes the cake for effortlessly infusing itself into the film’s situations.

Had the film’s cinematography (John Jacob Payyapalli) been more taken care of, it would have definitely made a difference to the film. And had the film’s editing (Kirti Nakhwa) been tighter, the confusion during the oscillation between the past and the present could have been easily avoided. In a film of such genre, it’s generally the dialogues (mostly one-liners) which take the cake. And HUNTERRR is no different. And full credit goes to the impeccable duo of Harshavardhan Kulkarni and Vijay Maurya for springing up very impromptu lines. The film actually ‘stands’ and thrives on such dialogues and one liners.

On the whole, if you like naughty comedy full of witty lines, then HUNTERRR is a must watch for you.

Rating: 3/5

  1. sputnik 8 years ago

    Hunterrr Review by Raja Sen

    Hunterrr is a deeply problematic film, and fails rather miserably, warns Raja Sen.

    Is there a word for a male nymphomaniac? (If not, I strongly suggest ‘himphomaniac.’)

    The film Hunterrr chooses to use the word Vaasu — taken from the Sanskrit word vasana, meaning ‘truly stubborn desire’ — and treats it like commonly used slang.

    “I am a vaasu,” says the man with great revelatory import, trying to tell the woman he loves that he is a sex addict.

    “Vaasu? As in?” she asks blankly, and here a truly smart film would have tossed in something bewilderingly funny and utterly unrelated. (“Vaasu? As in Sreenivasan Jain?”)

    Alas, Hunterrr is not a truly smart film.

    It is however brazen, ambitious and decidedly shameless in its celebration of sleaze.

    It features a tremendously talented and markedly unconventional ensemble cast, and they conjure up some stirring moments. Above all, there is a sincere attempt at naturalism: Hunterrr tries to be the Malgudi Days of Masturbation. (It ends us being Mister Unlovely.)

    It tries, flounders and — despite the actors outshining one another — fails rather miserably.

    Written and directed by debutant Harshvardhan Kulkarni, Hunterrr is a deeply problematic film, one where young boys egg each other on to grope a lady at a fish-market, and where a man who coaxes a woman from airport waiting room to hotel room doesn’t consider asking her name or where she’s coming from.

    Misogyny forms the spine of the film, coming in many shapes: a schoolboy declaring that the best girl isn’t attainable but the second best is; a father describing a boy’s aunt by saying “she looks okay”; a brother telling another that he might as well keep lying to his fiancee and tell the truth once the marriage is done.

    It starts off with promise, thanks mostly to Gulshan Devaiah’s wonderful performance in the lead as Mandar Ponkshe, a Marathi version of Alexander Portnoy who has — through indiscriminate standards and aggression — managed to bully his way into a series of conquests.

    It isn’t that he isn’t likeable; Mandar can be disarmingly warm and friendly, despite being a borderline sociopath. If I timed the film’s awful and sloppy back-and-forth-in-time structure correctly, Mandar should be just about 40. He’s hunting for a bride the arranged marriage way, and gets engaged, but can’t stop eye and zipper from roving.

    Devaiah is overwhelmingly believable in the part, seeming to channeling Sai Paranjpye heroes as he slurps noisily from a straw or perpetually, needlessly fiddles with his belt. It’s a creepy role but he plays it very straight indeed.

    Radhika Apte is reliably excellent as Tripti, his progressive fiancee, though it remains inexplicable why this seemingly sorted woman — despite her sudden demand to know why someone may not have seen Mukul Anand’s Agneepath — would settle for Mandar.

    Sai Tamhankar brings power to the role of the attractive neighbourhood bhabhi, while a young man called Vaibhav Tavtavadi endows the studly-cousin character, Kshitij, with true charisma.

    The young boys playing the childhood versions of Mandar and Kshitij — Vedant Muchandi and Shalva Kinjawadekar — are really very good, enough to declare that if this film had stayed in that 1989 flashback instead of hopping messily all over the place, we’d have something special on our hands.

    The performance of the film comes from Sagar Deshmukh playing Dilip, Mandar’s relatively reticent elder brother. He’s a bit of a square and a sap — a guy who tucked his knee under his outstretched t-shirt as he wept over a girl in college days, and, more importantly, the kind of guy who follows a drunken friend to the ends of the earth but not without taking the chicken lollipops along to eat in the auto-rickshaw.

    There are, thus, nice little touches of detailing all over the place — kids crowning each other “Wing Commander” because of the way they rule over certain wings of the housing society; a portly friend encouraged to dance frenetically at parties and rip his shirt off like Hulk Hogan; young boys taking a bath together and using soaping-the-back as a metaphor. But all this does is make you believe a film like this should exist, certainly, and that you want to like a film like this. Yet, the flat humour left me mostly unmoved, and I doubt you’ll be quoting fondly from this one unless you find the mere mention of swearwords inherently funny.

    At one point in the film Mandar ‘fesses up to Tripti, following which she enticingly proposes that they leave their marriage open and go pick up couples from swinger parties.

    She does this with eyes blessedly agleam (damn that Radhika Apte is good) and Mandar can’t believe his luck, till, it turns out she was messing with him only to see how depraved he is before she dumped him.

    It’s a good moment of Mandar being put in his place… except it doesn’t happen.

    The second half of the film consists of at least a half-dozen moments that are filmed but, we then realise, haven’t actually taken place. An unreliable narrator is one thing but Hunterrr, like Mandar, cheats too often.

    Which is why it should come as no surprise that, at the scene mentioned at the head of this review, not just does the woman not invoke the bearded journalist, but she refuses even to behave like that other TV anchor and “demand to know.”

    The hunt was never afoot.

    Rediff Rating: 2

  2. sputnik 8 years ago

    Hunterrr Movie Review by Anupama Chopra

  3. MGT 8 years ago

    Anyone heard the review of anupama chopra ?

    Would be interesting to hear what she has to say about this movie considering the genre and her refined tastes.

  4. sputnik 8 years ago

    Hunterrr Movie Review by Rajeev Masand

    Rating: 2

    March 20, 2014

    Cast: Gulshan Devaiah, Radhika Apte, Sai Tamhankar, Veera Saxena, Sagar Deshmukh, Vedant Muchandi

    Director: Harshavardhan Kulkarni

    More than a few young men will likely recognize themselves in snatches from the growing up years of Mandar Ponkshe, the protagonist of Hunterrr. Skipping class to sneak into an adult film, gathering with friends outside a girls’ school during lunch break, brushing up against an unsuspecting older woman in a crowded place. These scenarios, however embarrassing in retrospect, are unmistakably familiar.

    Writer-director Harshavardhan Kulkarni introduces us to Mandar as a teenager curious about the opposite sex and his body’s response to it. There are charming scenes of a young Mandar (played convincingly by Vedant Muchandi) struggling to strike up so much as a conversation with a girl, even as he dispenses romantic advice like an expert to his classmates. He gets braver as he gets older (now played by Gulshan Devaiah), first securing a girlfriend whom he gets thrown out of his college hostel for bringing back to his room, then starting an affair with a married neighbor, and subsequently turning into the kind of oversexed lothario that’ll make a play for anything in a skirt, or a saree, or a pair of shorts.

    The film cuts repeatedly between these scenes from his youth, and the present day, in which Mandar, now in his mid-30s, is preparing to get married, although he still can’t keep it in his pants. He has his heart set on Tripti (Radhika Apte), who appears broad-minded enough not to be hung up on his colorful sexual history, although he hasn’t mustered up the courage to share it with her yet.

    The prickly subject of sex addiction is viewed through a comic lens in Hunterrr, and for a good part, it works too. Kulkarni keeps the casting real, populating the film with the kind of unremarkable, everyday faces that fit comfortably into its middle-class Maharashtrian milieu. There’s some witty dialogue too, alas much of it unsuitable to repeat in a review.

    It’s the film’s constantly jumping timeline that wears you out soon enough. We go back and forth in time – six months earlier, five months later, three months ago, two years later, and so on – until it’s hard to keep track of where we are at any given point. Moreover, the film’s second half feels painfully repetitive and devoid of any interesting insights. Hunterrr is far from fair in its depiction of women, who are either portrayed as desperate-for-marriage becharis, or unhappy frustrated housewives, both conveniently becoming easy prey to Mandar’s ever wandering eye. The sexist stereotyping is one thing; more offensive is the fact that the women in the film are uniformly dumb.

    That’s a shame because the actresses embodying them are talented young ladies who deserved better. Sai Tamhankar as the frisky neighbor who comes over for afternoon romps has a deep, underlying sadness in her big, expressive eyes. Radhika Apte plays the educated, financially independent Tripti, as confident, smart and spunky even, the sort of girl who points out attractive women to her date. Oddly, she’s the only woman Mandar appears to have no designs on sexually. Hypocrisy, anyone?

    Still, the film rests largely on the able shoulders of Gulshan Devaiah, who succeeds in making you care for a character that’s not always likeable. Devaiah brings an everyman earnestness to Mandar, which protects him from coming off as a deviant. Too bad the film itself is promising but ultimately disappointing. A film, that in the end, delivers little else but cheap laughs.

    I’m going with two out of five for Hunterrr.


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