India Today - - LEISURE - —Suhani Singh

Ex­cep­tions like Voot’s Bad Man—a par­ody of Bol­ly­wood’s stock vil­lains—not­with­stand­ing, the Hindi film in­dus­try has a low thresh­old for hu­mour at its own ex­pense. Ro­han Sippy’s Side Hero marks an­other at­tempt, and like most of the other ef­forts, it’s only par­tially suc­cess­ful. The source of par­ody in Eros Now’s first orig­i­nal is Kunal Roy Ka­pur’s sub­par film ca­reer as a peren­nial side­kick.

Roy Ka­pur, best known for Delhi Belly and Yeh Jawaani Hai Dee­wani, bravely takes all the in­sults, but it’s not enough to hide the fact that this satire on a strug­gling ac­tor’s mis­ad­ven­tures is low on laughs. In the first episode, a wardrobe mal­func­tion gets Kunal fired. Then he’s evicted from his apart­ment and forced to move into a hos­tel full of failed ac­tors. Mak­ing mat­ters worse is that he has a clue­less man­ager, Beera (Gopal Datt), to re­vive his ca­reer and his per­sonal life is in dol­drums with his es­tranged wife Sarika (Gauhar Khan) ro­manc­ing a young, fit and dap­per man.

Through the eight episodes, Sippy and his co-writ­ers of­fer some in­sight into the film in­dus­try and the many is­sues that af­flict it: ob­ses­sion with im­age, fear of fail­ure, in­se­cu­rity and pompous­ness of its prac­ti­tion­ers, the woes of so­cial me­dia. Many of the in­ci­dents that are meant to be ridicu­lous, such as when Kunal hires a body­guard, come off as un­be­liev­able and un­funny. A few at­tempts at be­ing non­sen­si­cal though do pay off such as the episode, ‘Death Star’, which sees Kunal pre­tend to be the best friend of the de­ceased at a fu­neral. There’s a steady flow of cameos with Til­lotama Shome and Konkana Sen­sharma crack­ing it in episode one. But the best de­ploy­ment comes with Aditya Roy Ka­pur (Kunal’s younger brother) who turns up late for a spa open­ing only to see his job as the celebrity taken over by his brother. The show’s emo­tional un­der­tones in the lat­ter half are pre­dictable and jar­ring. But there’s no fault­ing Roy Ka­pur’s role as an ac­tor who wears hap­less­ness on his face with the con­vic­tion of a su­per­star.

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