Hunterrr movie review; Director: Harshavardhan Kulkarni; Cast: Gulshan Devaiah, Radhika Apte, Sai Tamhankar, Veera Saxena
A humour-laced drama about the life and times of a sex addict, Hunterrr is an unusual film by Bollywood standards. It, however, does not do much justice to either the rarely attempted genre or the purpose of understanding a grim affliction.
But that said, many aspects of debutant director Harshavardhan Kulkarni’s film are worthy of commendation. Hunterrr is a realistic tale peopled by believable characters that live and breathe in a real, tangible setting. They act and react in ways that are easy to relate to.
It doesn’t get all its lines right because this film is like that little boy who wants to be a hunky stud but has no clue how to go about it.
The overall impact of Hunterrr is undermined by its inordinate length and the rather convoluted spin it puts on the plight of a commitment-phobic philanderer.
Hunterrr goes back and forth in time, across a span of 25-odd years, in trying to lay bare the reasons behind an ordinary middle class boy’s descent into depravity.
The male protagonist – if one can call him that – is an average guy. Neither flashy nor flush with cash, Mandar Ponkshe (Gulshan Devaiah) is more gauche than charming. He is driven by an uncontainable compulsion to ogle and make a pass at every woman that he espies.
He lurches from one fling to another in quest of physical pleasure rather than emotional stability. The result is predictable. In chasing the joys of instant gratification, he only aggravates the messy tangle that his life is. The more women he conquers the more trouble he courts.
An artless swimmer in his college (Veera Saxena), a married woman with a child (Sai Tamhankar), a bored, lonely high society seductress – she is Savita Bhabhi to Mandar – and the independent-minded Trupti Gokhale (Radhika Apte) are just some of the women in the hero’s life.
Hunterrr has problems aplenty with tonality. It is never clear what it is trying to achieve. Are we supposed to empathise with Mandar’s struggles, or are we expected to abhor him for his lack of scruples?
The film tends to ramble aimlessly after it has made its pivotal point: the path of juvenile carnality has more thorns than roses. It goes round in concentric circles as the hero creates a web of problems for himself, his friends and the women he pursues.
But despite being hugely confusing and only mildly attention-grabbing for Mandar’s gawky escapades, Hunterrr is quaintly watchable at times because of the quality of the acting.
Gulshan Devaiah turns in a restrained performance as a man both driven and tormented by his inability to curb his raging hormones. The finesse that he brings to the job makes Mandar an ambivalent figure, an object of both ridicule and pity.
Radhika Apte lights up the screen with her presence and invests Tripti with grey qualities that go beyond the certainties of simple black and white perceptions.
In a much briefer role, Sai Tamhankar, playing the middle class woman who cheats on her husband, conveys the moral and emotional ambiguities inherent in her transgressions.
Hunterrr is adults only fare. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to appeal to anyone other than the callow.
– By Saibal Chatterjee