Cast: Mohanlal, Puneeth Rajkumar, Archana, Bhavana, Atul Kulkarni, Ravi Kale, Sadhukokila
‘My Hero Mythri’ has as its protagonist, Sidharth (Aditya, a young boy who whiles away his days at the remand home after having committed a heinous crime that had sent shock waves across the society. The sixth grader however had been a committed student at school and decides to try his hand at the Kodipathi show on television. His warden (Atul Kulkarni) who senses that the child holds tremendous promise, lends support to his endeavour and accompanies him to Chennai, where they meet actor Puneet Raj Kumar, the host of the show, much to the boy’s delight.
The very obvious influences of a film like ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ are very much there and the tale of the underdog who rises to stardom and international fame does come to mind as you watch ‘My Hero Maithri’. It’s also the desi version of the Who Wants to be a Millionaire show that brings about a change in fortune for Siddharth in ‘My Hero Maithri’, and both films talk of a destiny that simply cannot be stopped.
Where it does differ from ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is when Mahadev Menon (Mohanlal) walks into the picture during the very last fifteen minutes of the film, and induces Puneet into a rethinking of sorts, regarding the child protegee, the talents of whom he had been quite vocal about on the studio floors.
The denouement makes ‘Mythri’ a film that talks of the stands that we adopt in life, and how swiftly they are altered. When Mahadev receives a call from Sidharth seeking help for the one question that would leave the boy a millionaire, he is taken aback. It takes a while for him to decide what he should do, but when he does ‘My Hero Maithri’ adds a further bit of positivism to the communique that it intends to put straight across.
Though ‘My Hero Maithri’ claims to be a bilingual film that was shot simultaneously in Kannada and Malayalam, it does come across as a Kannada film that has been dubbed into Malayalam. There are many instances in it where this discrepancy comes to the forefront, robbing the film of its overall efficacy.
The film could also have done better without the songs, especially the ones at the remand home that appear at the most inopportune of moments. It’s not just that they are needless, but they even slam the brake pedal and mar the smooth flow of the narrative.
Puneet Raj Kumar playing himself is remarkably restrained in ‘My Hero Maithri’ and declares vehemently as to why he has evolved into such an affable star. Mohanlal who is barely around for less than quarter of an hour proves beyond doubt that screen time does not really matter, when it comes to performances that move the viewers’ hearts.
There are also the child artistes especially Aditya who has done a simply smashing job of playing Sidharth, while Atul Kulkari and Kalabhavan Mani leave a mark in their respective roles. The women however do not have much to do in the film, and Anu Joseph and Archana make brief and yet notable appearances.
‘My Hero Maithri’ is an earnest attempt that offers a warm hearted examination of wrongs and the wronged. Tender, wise and sensitive in just the right doses, the film qualifies for a recommended weekend watch.