The Hero: Love Story Of A Spy

  • 2003
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Action, Musical, Spy

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE-style international spy thrills, with musical numbers. Much-decorated Indian secret agent and master-of-disguise Arun Khanna (Sunny Deol, who bears a striking resemblance to Kevin Spacey) is given a vitally important mission. Power-mad Isaq Khan (Amrish Puri), head of Pakistan's secret service, has concocted a diabolical plan: He intends...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE-style international spy thrills, with musical numbers. Much-decorated Indian secret agent and master-of-disguise Arun Khanna (Sunny Deol, who bears a striking resemblance to Kevin Spacey) is given a vitally important mission. Power-mad Isaq Khan (Amrish Puri), head of Pakistan's secret service, has concocted a diabolical plan: He intends to allow religious fundamentalists operating in the name of Kashmiri independence to steal one of Pakistan's nuclear warheads ("our Islamic bomb"), which they will then use against India. But he's foiled by Khanna, and imprisoned with his cohorts. Khanna subsequently assumes the guise of an army officer at a military outpost on the Kashmir/Pakistan border, the better to keep an eye on the doings of Pakistani colonel Hidayatulla (Deep Dhillon), who's suspected of being in cahoots with the conspirators. Khanna falls in love with studious shepherd girl Reshma (Preity Zinta), but puts duty first and places his beloved, who often crosses the border while tending her sheep, in harm's way. Hearing that Hidayatulla is looking for a servant girl, Khanna trains Reshma as a spy and sends her to Hidayatulla's house, where she gathers intelligence — including the vital information that Khan and his co-conspirators are out of jail and plotting again — until she's discovered. Khanna rescues her and proposes marriage, but Khan blows up the pavillion where the engagement party is held and Reshma is counted among the dead. As is always the case in epic melodramas, many more plots and counter-plots play themselves out before the lovers are reunited. Since this is an Indian melodrama, the diversions include elaborate song-and-dance numbers, some of which arise naturally from the story — an elaborate village celebration, a floor show at a corporate gala event — while others are pure artifice. And since this is also an action thriller, there are shootouts, fights, high-tech spy craft and the climactic pursuit of a runaway train in the snowy Canadian wilderness; over all it's no more preposterous or jingoistic than American big-budget action thrillers, except for the musical numbers, which are a given. The film pays lip service to ideals of international and interfaith brotherhood and love — Reshma is a Hindu orphan adopted by Muslim neighbors, Khanna refuses to defile the Pakistani flag (his quarrel is only with terrorists) and treats the Muslim villagers of Kashmir with unexpected kindness and respect — while reviling Pakistan at every opportunity.

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  • Released: 2003
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE-style international spy thrills, with musical numbers. Much-decorated Indian secret agent and master-of-disguise Arun Khanna (Sunny Deol, who bears a striking resemblance to Kevin Spacey) is given a vitally important mission. Power-mad… (more)

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