Mayank Shekhar | Last Modified - Mar 22, 2013, 04:02 PM IST
It’s easy to create celebrities. You only have to pay. The frequency with which your picture or video proliferates in the media – God knows you can buy each outlet – secures fame in the eyes of the unsuspecting public. Jacky Bhagnani, son of producer and real estate developer Vashu Bhagnani, is a bona fide celebrity. I say this gawking at the hugest billboards I’ve ever seen in my life, driving back from this film’s screening in Juhu. Surely there are many others lined up in several parts of India.
This movie, like its billboard, is centred on the actor alone. All characters exist to make him look good and humble. The father loves him because he’s honest. Neighbours adore him because he’s virtuous. The film is a throwback to the Ram Lakhan, Deewana type ‘80s and ‘90s pictures, when the hero’s tapori friends would be more his bhakts. They would play carom with him under a spotlight, go wherever he went and wouldn’t mind getting slapped around by him once in a while as well. At least the main flunky buddy here can take some bashing from his best-friend. The hero on the other hand – a ‘yaaro ka yaar’, supremely shy about consensual sex, all mard about bravery and honour – can’t stand injustice.
There are oppressions of all kinds. Since we’ve located ourselves two decades before, clearly the big issue is finding love. It’s that year in the life of the movies, when the girl gets locked up in her house. The boy is desperate to marry her. The parents who are old-world small-town zamindars won’t let the boy and girl meet. The boy approaches the hero, who’s fully dabang, and diler, or rangrezz, as it were. He is up for the cause. There can be only one solution: “utha lenge” (abduct the girl and marry her off). Everybody agrees. The rental fellow lends the car for free because it is after all “pyar ka mamla”.
Four jobless blokes who comprise India’s “demographic dividend” hop on to the SUV and head North to rescue or abduct the girl. These are pick-up artistes of another kind. One friend loses his hearing in the process. He gets hit by a rod in the head, though I suspect the loss of hearing had something to do with how loudly everyone screams around him all the time. The other buddy in this group breaks his leg when a truck runs over it. He seems to get back on his feet quite fast. Some of the ensemble cast, or junior artistes as they’re sadly called – the actor playing the zamindar, the local cop, the dhaba owner etc – are actually well picked. You won’t know these actors’ names. They’re only too happy to be part of a film, any film. It helps the camera and the story to focus on the leading man alone.
The hero gets to walk through fire and pull a horse while hanging on to a jeep. He sacrifices his childhood sweetheart while he romances his wonderful lower middle-class family in a basti that loves him to death. The filmmakers hope that people from the same parts will respond to him likewise. But then again, like the Gangnam Style song that he performs to at the end, you just never know what instantly clicks with people and what doesn’t. Paid celebrity business is all good. Eventually, you’re either a star or you’re not. You either have fans or you don’t. No harm trying still. Ambition is a bitch. It’s only the audience that suffers sometimes, that is, if they choose to buy the ticket of course.