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Chala Mussaddi Office Office review: Performances sparkle in a film that falls short!

Chala Mussaddi Office Office review: Performances sparkle in a film that falls short!

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Thursday 4 August 2011

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Movie Title

Chala Mussaddi - Office Office

Director

Rajiv Mehra

Star Cast

Pankaj Kapoor, Deven Bhojani, Manoj Pahwa, Sanjay Mishra, Hemant Pandey, Asawari Joshi

Everyone loves the TV show. Office Office, with its innocuous dark humour, effectively exposed the incompetency and corruption in government offices. With the anti-corruption movement helmed by Anna Hazare gaining ground, the film is timely.

Sadly, it's not a patch on the hilarious TV show.

Chala Mussaddi? opens on the ominous note of Mussaddi Lal's wife dying (due to inept treatment tinged with corruption). For the last rites, he and his wayward son (Gaurav Kapoor) meet with greedy pundits who call them 'clients'.

He returns from the pilgrimage to find that he can't access his retirement pension. The government records show that he's dead. What? Yup, since he didn't go to the pension office for three months for the mandatory signature, the officials declared him dead.

Now, Mussaddi must officially prove that he is indeed alive. But is it an oversight or a scam where the officials devour poor pensioners' money?

The Office Office gang is back with their specific quirks: Bhatia Saab (Manoj Pahwa), Shuklaji (Sanjay Mishra), Ushaji (Asawari Joshi), Pandeyji (Hemant Pandey) and Patel (Devan Bhojani). Some play multiple roles.

One government employee is rolling out pappads on her desk, another officer is eating a plateful of samosas, yet another complicates everything by saying 'Do baaten hogi'.

Some dialogues have the cutting edge of the TV series. A government officer says proudly of their incorrigibly corrupt ways, "Hum sarkari karamchari hain, beemari nahin, jo theek jo jaye", (we are government employees, not a disease that can be cured). Another complains that she had to take a Singapore holiday "spending my own money".

The plot hasn't been developed to its full potential. Imagine the humour and pathos possible in a story where a living man has been declared dead. It's preposterous!

There are moments where one feels for Mussaddi, especially when his ex-student, too, sheepishly demands a bribe out of him. The film tries drawing a parallel between corruption and the 'lights off' movement to save power. Mussaddi's sudden urge to fight off the grubby officials is inspiring to an extent.

The film doesn't work because the narrative is too sparse and repetitive. Also the finale doesn't really offer any hope or solution. It may be Mussaddi's little victory, but even he couldn't achieve it without having a connection in the right place.

Pankaj Kapoor who introduces himself as 'Mussaddi Lal Tripathi, School Master, Mahatma Gandhi School', makes the character formidable. Whether he's arguing his case in front of officials, in court, or when he decides he's had enough and takes the law into his own hands, Kapoor is superlative.

The supporting cast is great fun, but doesn't have substantial roles.

Director Rajiv Mehra and writer Ashwani Dheer (team of the Office Office series) make a film that's oddly not as entertaining or telling as the TV show. There's no doubt that the unusual premise and the subject could have made for a kick-ass film.

This one is about average, watchable mainly for the characters we've grown to love and the fabulous performances.

Rating: 2.5 stars

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