The hero’s might establishing song in Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s Tevar is titled Main Hoon Superman. And the lyrics go Main Hoon Superman, Salman ka fan. That clearly establishes what kind of film Tevar is and what kind of leading man we are dealing with here. Only it is all a bit anachronistic. Okkadu, the Mahesh Babu superhit of which Tevar is a not so faithful remake, came out in 2003. In 2003, Salman Khan did not have the mass hero image that he does today. It won’t happen till 2009 with Wanted, like Tevar, also a Boney Kapoor production. But more importantly also a remake from the ever giving stable of Mahesh Babu – this time Pokiri.
All that to say it is 2015 and Tevar is stillborn. The genre can still serve up some surprises when done with a bit of taste and inventiveness. That’s what Dabangg did. That’s where films like Singham Returns and Tevar fail. There is nothing wrong with putting a spin over the original script but in Tevar it just doesn’t work. These are not organic changes either. Sharma simply places similar situations in different locations with different set pieces. He also takes too much time establishing the characters while the original did a lot of show-not-tell. Okkadu hits the ground running and that’s something Tevar refuses to do making it a chore.
Then there is the problem of casting. Or whatever you call that abomination. Arjun Kapoor quips punch dialogues on channe, badam and farting but forever talks like he’s got a mouthful and a constipated look to go with it. It’s really tough to take him as the tough guy. Kabaddi star yes but destructive mass hero, no. Manoj Bajpai has everything for this role but the changes in the script do a great disservice to him. Sonakshi Sinha is tolerable and that’s mainly because we are used to seeing her in these roles so often that it’s not even offensive anymore. It’s just status quo.
Much of Tevar is informed by the wham-bham films of Telugu and Tamil but none of the occasional freshness is evident. While Okkadu did a lot of new things with its unique treatment and strong leads, Tevar is a product of a different time and place. Neither is it blessed by its cast of which Raj Babbar is the only one to bring any sort of sincerity. Bollywood has to think long and hard about remakes that are past their sell-by date or better yet, think about originals.