The highly anticipated movie, with the sar jo tera chakraye soundtrack according to the promo, was fast paced, with subtle humour and had a sense of visual alacrity and aesthetics not commonly seen in today’s cinema. If one were to regard this as a “Festival Film,” with festival implying catering to the film festival audiences, yes the film has its moments. But if you were to put this in the “Bollywood envelope” it fails miserably.
It does have it few moments, but it seems more for the Festival fraternity especially in a scene where you see the kid (Faisal) giving the customer (Abhay Deol) tea and saying, “tujhe kya lagam yeh starbucks hai?” (Did you think it was going to be Starbucks?) This dialogue in a film, where the country hasn’t even seen Starbucks, a term only the jet-setters or travelling community would know, does not make sense to the average Joe. The other more insane dialogue, which you think could have probably come from a Bingo commercial is the tel dialogue where Abhay offers the local water-lord tel and says that would make him a ‘real man’.
The film doesn’t live up to the promo. It seemed as if the promo’s intention was to entice. With its colours, a fantastic rendition of an old song, interspersed with the best moments of the film, it truly did its job, of bringing people into the theatre. But that’s where it ended. It could however not keep them in their seat, which is where the director truly disappointed.
One would think, that if given more time, the director could have probably managed a screenplay wherein which the story could have been shaped better along with characters having a hierarchy instead of all being middlemen, and no one clear character emerging as the archetypal hero or villain. Even if you keep aside the hierarchical nature of cinema, and think of the director of doing something new, the fact of the story not feeling complete cannot be ignored.
The movie is not only slow, but its visuals after a while, especially those of the road seem monotonous and almost forced. There is a charm to aesthetics, but it only remains if it is used in modest quantities. To simply put it, I would have rather left this movie on the road, then called it a movie in a hall. The only saving grace, its 95 minutes and in the end, you can hear the song played in the promos before leaving the theatre.
Interesting fact: Faisal has previously worked in a final film made by four students of MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia titled ‘Boot Polish’. Dev Benegal was the adviser at the time the film’s proposals were being discussed by the students who directed it.