|Jackky Baghnani, Priya Anand, Rajpal Yadav, Amitosh Nagpal|
The film’s title is immediately arresting. The film, a remake of Tamil film Naadodigal, not so much.
Three friends hang around all day talking in the ‘apun-tapun’ language. Unsurprisingly, one of them is called Pakiya— yup you guessed it, the funnier one among the lot.
This is a film with its spotlight firmly fixed on Jackky Bhagnani’s Rishi. He gets to perform a lavish festival song (very much like the Ganesh Chaturthi songs of our films), play the good son, brother, lover and most of all, friend.
Yup, friendship’s the buzzword where our man is concerned. ‘Dosti ke liye humein ye karna padega’, he lectures his flunkey friends. He’s talking about helping a school friend with whom he hasn’t been in touch. The friend pops in unexpectedly in his ‘basti’ one day and the next day attempts suicide.
He then starts sobbing on Rishi’s shoulder, pouring out his story— he loves a girl, but both their parents are vehemently against the match.
That’s when Jackky’s character decides they will ‘uthao’ the girl, meaning they will kidnap her. Now this term, ‘uthva lena’ is a derogatory one usually referring to literally picking up a girl, usually against her wishes. It seems wrong in this context (even if it sounds intentionally sensational), as they’re actually just planning her eloping. Big difference, there!
When the other friends object, he gives them the ‘dosti’ lecture. They readily agree to put their lives on the line for a stranger’s love quest. Such is instant friendship, you see. They even find a car salesman who lets them take a car for free. Honestly these people are a khap panchayat’s nightmare come true!
Now, both sides have powerful parents – the girl’s father (Pankaj Tripathi) is a feudal landlord of sorts who seems to rule over Lalitpur, while the boy’s mother is a politician (this quasi comical-terrifying character played wonderfully by Lushin Dubey).
The three friends reach the place and make clumsy attempts to get inside the landlord’s mansion. Do they succeed and even if they do, will it all be worth it? The story takes a turn post-interval, when the friends realize something amiss.
The film has been executed with conviction. The actions scenes are great and accompanied by some great music. Camerawork by Santosh Sivan is commendable.
The problem lies with the film’s fundamental thought. True, friendship’s all that, but honestly you don’t have to make it a noose around your neck even if it’s for your ‘diaper dosts’.
Secondly, the film proposes that if two people have a love marriage, they better ‘nibhao’ it. Citing the long lines outside divorce courts, the hero lectures an incompatible couple to stay together. Now, what is this? Also, if they had to show a warring couple, do we have to see the man and wife fighting like two sisters (I honestly thought they’d pull each others hair)!
Rajpal Yadav comes in for the “comedy”, which mainly entails him getting pushed and slapped around.
Jackky Bhagnani, son of the film’s producer, has had a flop (Azab Gazabb Love) and a mild success (F.A.L.T.U). He’s confident here, eager to shoulder the film, and succeeding intermittently. The supporting cast (which is the rest of the film, really) is competent—from his love interest Priya Anand to the friends Vijay Verma (Pakiya) and Amitosh Nagpal (Vinod).
Priyadarshan has been a mind-bogglingly inconsistent filmmaker, shifting genres, and springing surprisingly good and bad films in turns. This one falls somewhere in the middle. Watch it if you’d like a serving of an average potboiler with a different story but treated in the age-old manner.
Rating: Two stars