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Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji review: Watch it only if you must

Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji
Madhur Bhandarkar
Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Omi Vaidya, Shazahn Padamsee, Shraddha Das, Shruti Haasan
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Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji trails the lives of three characters you don’t quite like instantly.

At the bottom of the heap is Abhay (Emraan Hashmi) who, as a gym instructor, hits on his clients. Then there’s Milind Kelkar (Omi Vaidya) who falls for an ambitious RJ and finally, a bank executive Naren (Ajay Devgn) who falls for new intern June Pinto. A bit like Shaukeen (1981) that had elderly men compete with each other for the attention of a young girl, this film has the three central characters go through a love cycle of their own.

Going through a divorce, Naren now aged 38, finds himself attracted to the new intern in office. June (Shazahn Padamsee) is 20-something but behaves like an overexcited adolescent. She drags her `boss-y’ to parties, changes into a revealing top seated next to him in the car, asks him when he lost his `V’(virginity), invites him home for dinner and so on. The boss gets led on, only to find a surprise in store. His makeover for getting June’s attention has Abhay comment on how he transformed from Doordarshan to MTV.

Meanwhile Abhay gets involved with a married ex-model (Tisca Chopra) only to fall in love with her step-daughter (Shruti Hassan). In the film’s unintentionally funniest scenes, Abhay crashes in on her NGO press conference and asks in the packed room `do you believe in love’.

Milind, who has been saving up for his marriage, is besotted with an RJ (Shraddha Das) who has ambitions of becoming a heroine. She prefers him as a friend, but his eagerness to help gets the better of her.

Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji’s three protagonists get a moral science lesson at the end of the film. But it all ends happily.

Madhur Bhandarkar (Page 3, Chandni Bar), known for realistic films, transcends into comedy with DTBHJ. His debut into comedy draws a mixed response. The attempt is laudable. But the result, not quite. The storytelling exposes that Bhandarkar is still a rookie with this genre, and the lack of cohesiveness in the treatment is proof.

For laughs, you have lines like this character telling off a compulsive flirt: `Do you like cheese. Because your lines are very cheesy’. Or you have Bhandarkar’s standard homophobic jokes where a gay character can’t keep his hands off any man.

Of the cast, Ajay Devgn makes a mark with his restrained performance. Emraan Hashmi does his usual `charmer with the ladies’ act, and Omi Vaidya’s comic potential is underutilized. The girls make a mark only intermittently with Tisca Chopra and Shraddha Das standing out.

The film could have been sharper, funnier, sexier. Instead what you have are three erring men who get raps on their knuckles. Save the odd humorous line that pops in unexpectedly, the dialogue is just about serviceable. Watch it only if you must.

Verdict: Two stars


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