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Mere Dad Ki Maruti review: What a car-nama!

Movie:
Mere Dad Ki Maruti
Director:
Ashima Chibber
Cast:
Saqib Saleem, Rhea Chakraborty, Prabal Punjabi, Ram Kapoor, Ravi Kissen
Avg user rating:
Welcome yet again to the sunshine world of Punjabi weddings, naach-gaana and romance.

The Khullar family, based in Chandigarh, is preparing for the daughter's wedding. Dad Teji (Ram Kapoor) is organising the filling of cheap liquor in expensive alcohol bottles.

He is doubly excited because the car he's going to "gift" the son-in-law - a brand new Maruti Ertiga - has just arrived. The car is promptly parked in the garage even as Teji gets emotional about the Maruti - remembering how son Sameer was brought from the hospital in an 800.

"Itís not a car, it's love," says a sentimental Teji.

Having landed a date with the college heartthrob, Sameer (Saqib Saleem) takes out the new car to create an impression. Calling herself 'Chandigarh ki Shakira', Jasleen (Rhea Chakraborty) has half the college holding their breath for her, but she somehow decides to bet on Sameer.

And on the night he takes her out for the first time, the car disappears.

Sameer and his best bud (Prabal Punjabi) think of ways to trace the car. Sameer's father cannot find out about the missing car, and he needs the car to take Jasleen out for their second date.

We watch the story unfold as cops, a stolen cars' dealer, Sameer's conscience and a hired car get involved.

Meanwhile the OD-ing on Punjabi continues as Tej calls Sameer a 'useless burger' and 'patthe da ullu', and Sameer keeps proving these words right. Introducing themselves as 'Sameer aur Gattu', this dumb-and-dumber jodi asks the traffic cop if he and his 'friends' towed away their vehicle. They run around for quite a bit till Sameer gets what he calls a "planon ka plan" (the plan among plans).

The conversations are sprightly and conversational. Ishita Moitra's super-smart dialogue has one friend ask the other despondent friend, "Tera network itna low kyon hai?" ( Why is your network so low?).

Ram Kapoor is such a delight to watch - he is one of the few actors who find joy in their work and it shows! He plays the father as a boisterous, always-angry man with wit and nuance. Sure the character mispronounces every word and even Sameer becomes Smeer, but Kapoor plays it with chutzpah.

Saqib Saleem is very good as Sameer, and plays the part with equal parts charm and humour. Prabal Punjabi as his best bud is simply superb. Rhea Chakraborty shows potential, and looks great. The supporting characters need a round of applause - from the actors playing Sameer's mother and sister, to the cop and Ravi Kissen's don.

Adil Afsar's cinematography shows us how candy-coloured life can be and Sachin Gupta's music and background score liven things up.

Debut director Ashima Chibber's story is super-fun and her storytelling is measured and self-assured.

The film has been produced by Y-Films, a wing of Yash Raj Films especially created to make youth-centric films. But by making a film based on a car meant to be a dowry gift is surprisingly old-school.

Making a film for the young doesn't just mean young characters and humour, it also means a contemporary perspective. And thatís severely lacking in MDKM, even if it's based in Chandigarh and "such things happen in real life".

That apart, there's lots to like in this hearty film, and the laughs and excellent acting are just two of them. Recommended!

3.5 stars

 

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