I remember watching The Dark Knight Rises and coming out of the cinema hall absolutely thrilled and energised. What worked for me was not the aura of Batman but learnings of Bruce Wayne. The best superhero films are not those with great action sequences, violence, with cars flying and a villain flaming the buildings. The best are those where a person shows his will against all odds to fight for the good of the people. Nolan’s Batman is loved not because the Superhero is so damn good but because Bruce Wayne is bruised, beaten yet he has the will to fight and win.
When it comes to Bhavesh Joshi, he is no Batman. He is a man who has shunned his career, friends, social life to fight for the good of the people, inspired by a series of revolutionary movements in the country. The movements come to a halt but his will to fight does not. With a camera in one hand, wearing a mask, he has set out on a journey to change the country, an idea not so welcomed by his close friends, even by the one who once was a part of this whole setup.
Bhavesh Joshi becomes a villain for the evil. He becomes a resonance of justice. A man so weak yet powerful enough to wage a war on corruption. He is killed yet he remains alive. Vikramaditya Motwane’s Bhavesh Joshi has no super powers. He cannot stop a train by his arms, fly and jump at his will. He is only human. He cannot do all these things. He cannot fight the villains even. He is ultimately killed. And what makes him stand out as a superhero is the fact that he comes back as a different person, in a different avatar. Bhavesh Joshi is a person yet he has no face. He is a phenomenon, a wave which cannot be stopped and his friend makes sure he lives in the fear of the evil and the hopes of the good.
Motwane’s brilliant direction and Anurag Kashyap, Abhay Konane’s writing does not try to play a lot with the idea of a superhero film, which has been failed on our land many a times before. They don’t try and create a world where a superhero is needed. Fiction cannot overdo reality and Motwane understand that. He does not create a superficial world, a man with superhuman powers. He takes you inside the evil of this world and tells you that a man like you and me have the guts to shun this evil. You understand that Motwane could have called this film anything, like Insaaf-Man, the character in Bhavesh’s friend’s comic book but he chooses to call it Bhavesh Joshi because this is our fight in our world and it has to be fought by someone who looks like us. Motwane doesn’t create a superhero. The idea of the film revolves around the same theory that superheroes are not born with any power, they make themselves.
There is a chasing scene in the film where Bhavesh Joshi while running away from the cops falls from his bike. This is an intense chase and he manages to outwit the cops on a number of occasions, flying his bike over the truck and then taking the over-bridge route to outfox the chasers but suddenly he falls off the bike. You realise his weaknesses. He is not hugely built to take on the people who are after his life. He picks himself up and starts the bike and races away.
He is befooled by the corrupt system against which he has waged a war. He is called a terrorist by the media, by the people in power yet he carries on. He is not people’s hero yet he carries on fighting for them. He is no genius. He has to do his research. He does not know when the villain is going to plot the next move. He is caught on camera trying to spy. He has renovated his bike so that it runs faster when the need arises but even that plan fails. Yet, he carries on.
The evil, the corrupt try and kill him but Bhavesh Joshi despite his flaws lives on. He stands on the window of the house of the water mafia in what probably is the last scene of the film. With his mask on, he stands there. He is announcing his return from the dead. The mafia is stunned. So are we. He was never meant to be this heroic. He never looked this heroic ever in the film. But now this is Bhavesh Joshi. As an audience, we had given up the hope that he will make a comeback again but he does. This is also the point when you want more of this man.
In Bhavesh Joshi Superhero, Motwane sticks to the theory of the ‘will to fight’, against the wrong in the system and against all odds. He tells you through Bhavesh Joshi that you don’t need a fancy name to call yourself a Superhero, you don’t need superpowers to help people. You can be called a Bhavesh Joshi and still be able to reach out to people for help.
Bhavesh Joshi is a superhero without a face, not because he wears a mask. But because he is one amongst the billion. The billion of us who don’t have any face. And what appears to us from the climax, he is not yet done with the job.
Both as a film and character, you want Bhavesh Joshi Supehero to win. And like the character, the film has its flaws but you know by the end of it that this effort is worth given a chance.