Mayank Shekhar | Last Modified - Mar 15, 2013, 04:08 PM IST
Even before you begin to appreciate this film for its own worth, you have to get over this niggling thought in your head that this is the longest ad for an automobile product that you’ve ever seen, or are ever likely to. The car in question is Ertiga, Suzuki’s latest entrant in the market. A young boy’s dad in the film has bought the 7-seater SUV (or is it an LUV, what’s that?) to gift his future son-in-law. There is a wedding in the family. The boy takes the car out on a night of heavy partying. It disappears from the parking lot by the time he’s out of the club. Clearly, he doesn’t know what the hell to do now.
The boy’s dad is the typically self-made middle-class Indian father prone to, among other things, manic possessiveness towards Black Label whisky – he even fills Johnny Black bottles with cheap with cheap booze to serve guests at his daughter’s wedding. Besides that common Indian uncle tendency to hoard expensive alcohol, he is a full-on “chipda” (miser), almost as economical in expressing love for his own son. Ram Kapoor plays this role. We know him best as the unlikely but popular hero from the hit television soap Bade Acche Lagte Hain. You can tell why so many millions seem to connect with this actor. There is genuine warmth and humaneness that drips from his performances on that show, as it does in this film.
He is a strict dad, and knows how to play it. The son (Saqib Saleem) would rather go to jail than tell him that he’s lost his brand-new gaddi Maruti. He and his best buddy (Prabal Punjabi, super spunky) try every trick in the trade to get home a new car. The best idea they come up with is: “SRK ko tweet karte hai,” so the movie star can tell all his followers to donate one rupee each; it certainly sounds better than stealing from a Mafiosi car-thief.
This is strictly a young adult’s film. The Hollywood equivalent of this genre would involve a bunch of junkies (Harold And Kumar, Dude Where’s My Car?) or collegiate drunks (American Pie etc) who test the bounds of possibilities. You’d come back home having picked up some hare-brained lingos or odd ways of saying certain words: “Naaice,” “Swaeet,” “Doood” (God knows we all use them).
A lot of lingos get exchanged among these blokes from Chandigarh, or Chandi as they’re more likely to call it: Defo, Obvio, Katesh, Chalesh, TC bro! For the most part I am just not sure if they’re faking a broken English – “Am love you” – or parodying those who probably speak like this. Either way, the dialogues are quite peppy. And this is a Yashraj film cleverly marrying the traditional Bollywood – joint family, weddings, giddha etc – with the low-budget urban cool. This is no break-out film for the genre in that sense (Delhi Belly), or a laugh-riot, just a fairly enjoyable ride that takes a flimsy idea too far and yet keeps you vaguely entertained.
I would ideally rent a DVD and find my money’s worth. God knows the audience the movie is intended for have all the time in the world. They should certainly get to the theatre. But then again, why should you not too?