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Review: Roadside Romeo

Review: Roadside Romeo

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Friday 24 October 2008

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Movie Title

Roadside Romeo

Director

Jugal Hansraj

Star Cast

Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Javed Jaffrey

Roadside Romeo, we are told, lived with a wealthy family that abandoned him when they moved city. He?s now on the streets, daydreaming of becoming a younger Hugh Hefner, with four lady dogs surrounding him at any moment. Somewhere in the film he also says: ?Ladkiyon ko patana mujhe aata hai?. Honestly, you?re unlikely to warm up to him instantly. Especially, since this is a kids? film.

This Romeo meets some roadside bullies, but the charmer that he is; he ropes them in for a salon business and makes them friends for life. They?re a cute bunch ? three street dogs and a cat who wants to be one of them.

They eat off dustbins and sometimes strike gold finding ?italy ki roti? (pizza) for dinner. They?re running the successful salon together, when Romeo sees a beautiful dancer Laila (Kareena Kapoor) on a rooftop (?aaand there we crash into Bollywood-land). He falls for her but she says ?I am not that kind of a girl?. Wazzat? She?s aloof, coquettish and bats her eyelashes like the Hindi film heroines of yesteryear.

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You don?t like her one bit either, just like you don?t care for Romeo. Two staidly written characters fall for each other; so where?s the conflict you ask. The mafia don Charlie Anna (Jaaved Jaaferi, savior of the film) has fallen for nightclub dancer Laila too you see, and that makes him Romeo?s enemy. Moulin Rouge, anyone? We all know the ending, but it?s the ride that?s fun.

The characters, apart from the boring central two, are very entertaining. Take Charlie?s slimy, paan-chewing `chamcha? for instance who actually wears a spoon around his neck, and speaks in a hilarious Bihari accent (Sanjay Mishra). Charlie Anna himself is a riot ? he speaks in exaggerated South Indian accented Hindi and English and even has three angels that go with is first name.

True to Jaffrey style, he says words like ?nonsense persons? and ?jokes? after he?s said something funny. But one thing that binds them all together is the frightening municipality van that indiscriminately picks up dogs that are never seen again.

Performance wise, Saif does a fabulous job; Jaaferi, Sanjay Mishra, Vrijesh Hirjee and Tanaaz Irani (as the cat) are hilarious. Dialogue is deliciously witty. In fact there is humour all through the film, overt and subtle.

For example, you might notice a `tail straightening? board outside the salon and smile. Or notice a banner on the street that says `English Speeking Corse? and laugh a bit. There?s even a cute mouse that pops in and out of the story, which the kids will love.

There are several references to past Yash Raj products ?the Dhoom:2 poster finds its way prominently in the background, several dialogues like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai?s `Tussi na jao? find it way, Saif listens to a Hum Tum song on radio, and the ending is a clever lift off DDLJ. Outtakes filmed on the animated characters are shown with the ending credits, and we also catch a glimpse of the real stars dubbing for their characters.

Technically, the film does well? perhaps a result of Yash Raj?s teaming with Walt Disney. The 3 D animation (Tata Elxsi-VCL) is a delight as is the cinematography by Anshul Chobey. Writer-director Jugal Hansraj gives us a good product that could have been superlative, had the writing matched up to its technical brilliance. The film is let down by the unimaginative central characters and their simplistic journey.

One is uncomfortable with the Charlie?s Angels being called `item-log? and the film?s basic premise revolving around romance with a passionate kiss thrown in. Don?t know how many parents would be ok with their cherubs watching that. Isn?t it to escape from such adult fare, that children?s films are made in the first place?

Still, for the omnipresent humour, amusing side characters, and mainly for the splendid animation, Roadside Romeo is worth a trip to the neighborhood theatre.

Verdict: 3 stars