He is back in all his pink-lipped glory, his hair combed into a sideways puff. He’s leaning against a wall, staring at himself in the mirror in wonderment as did Narcissus, wearing that familiar pensive look as the mortals around him mill about.
Himesh Reshammiya is either one of the greatest deadpan faces in Hindi cinema or its most unyielding – but it is hard to decide. Director after director has tried to extract emotion from the famous rockface, and Shawn Arranha’s Teraa Suroor is the latest. Every Reshammiya movie, whether it’s Aap Kaa Suroor (2007) or Karzzz (2008) or The Xpose (2014), has that moment when the camera stops to linger on his visage, hoping to elicit a reaction, a half-smile perhaps, or even a flicker of anger at the injustice that unfailingly seeks him out. And each time, the mission fails.
In Teraa Surroor, Reshammiya plays assassin Raghu, who spends the bulk of the 106-minute movie trying to work himself up over the fact that his fiancé Tara (Farah Karimaee) is lodged in a Dublin prison on a trumped-up drug trafficking charge. The culprit is the mysterious Anirudh Brahman, whose identity is revealed only at the climax. The guessing game about Anirudh’s real identity makes a target out of every one of the handful of underwritten characters, and goes some way towards keeping alive interest in a meaningless plot.
The movie spills over with pretty frames (the Dublin setting is milked to the last drop) and a constantly roving camera that focuses on its lead from all possible angles. Whether it’s a bird’s eye view from the sky or tender close-ups, the camera never fails to find Reshammiya. The frequent catchy songs, composed and sung by Reshammiya, point to the movie’s intentions to wrest a prolonged afterlife from YouTube and television channels. Indeed, if Teraa Surroor had been one long music video, it would have worked just fine.
The film offers several veteran actors the opportunity to pick up paycheques: Kabir Bedi as an Indian police chief, Shernaz Patel as Tara’s mother, Shekhar Kapur as the Indian ambassador, and Naseeruddin Shah as a jailbreak expert who helps Raghu spirit Tara out of prison. But there is no mistaking the movie’s only purpose: to further the cult of Himesh Reshammiya.
Reshammiya’s fans will appreciate the corny dialogue by Natasha Ramsay, the slow-motion action sequences in which our hero sends criminals flying through conveniently located glass panes, and his newly chiseled body. Whatever the view on Reshammiya and his unrelenting attempts to be regarded as an actor, there is no doubt that he is the biggest sport in Bollywood. Perhaps no other actor tries so hard to live up to the criticism, and succeeds every time.