Somewhere in the middle of this film, an oily fixer says, "pata nahin sab log aajkal patli gali hi kyon dhoondte hain!". He, a fixer, looking for a fast buck, mouthing this priceless gem about the state of the argumentative Indian today. It is that kind of a film.
On the surface, it is a thriller set in the cattle class Mumbai, with motley characters, who you will find in everyday Mumbai, jumping in and out of the screen. Three thugs, all different types, have to make some money. An NRI, wanting to set up business and acquire a girl friend in Mumbai up against some local thugs. A cricketer wanting to make to somehow to the Indian team and save his girlfriend from impending arranged marriage and doom.
But, the story is not about that actually. It is more about hope, redemption and the triumph over circumstances through the practice of goodness!
Enter Mr. Coelho in the form of his book "the Alchemist". He starts to teach a thug how to get through life with the choices that one has. The thug is Tilak (Tusshar) and the goodness reaches him first through the book and then through a caring wife who is more educated than him and helps him learn the book.
But while Tilak is learning, the other motley characters are also seeking their destiny in the bowels of Mumbai. The NRI (Ramamurthy)has a dark past that he has run from but needs to bury once and for all. He does this tellingly, if only to be at peace with himself. In his case, the good comes out of the bad as he deals with the thugs who harass him in his own manner, only to go faceless at the alter of God.
The cricketer and his girl come to terms with their chances in the prevailing order of the society. They choose routes to future that may not be the best but yet provide them with a lot of cheer.
The film has its moments in all the departments of film making. Some details are very nicely done.
* The newly wedded Radhika Apte cringing in her marital bed at the thought of her new husband's assault on her for sex. The camera stationed on the side of Radhika's face captures her vulnerability and Tusshar's indecision and confusion. Nice!
* The witty repartee between the three thug friends. (Of course, more proficient actors than Nikhil Dwivedi or Pitobash or even Tusshar may have done wonders with these dialogues, I was thinking Sharman, Arshad, Deepak Dobriyal, etc. Repeatedly, their antics drew laughs. But it had a smear of pathos, through illiteracy and mockery. Very thin ice directors, Raj and Krishna skated here!!
* The redemption scene for Senthil Ramamurthy, the editing and BG score rocked here. The BG score is by Roshan Machado who needs to be complimented for the climax scene. It keeps us hooked to the proceedings.
* The mother outside the cricketer's girlfriend's room shouting away in Hindi and Gujarati alternatively to make the girl get out of the room. Small scene yet so effective.
* Amit Mistry, when he inspects the arms in the hideout. (Amit Mistry has been continuously impressive through Ek Chaalis ki last Local, 99 and this film, don't know why he does not get more work?). Watch out for his Mumbaiya Marathi intonations. It's brilliant!
* The set up of the loving couples at Bandra Reclamation in broad daylight. This spoke volumes about the loneliness of this city!!
My only crib is Tusshar. He is bland. This needed a yesteryear Kamalhasan kind of performer, really! If not, a Sharman would have done adequately or even a Nawajuddin!!
But go see this film. It's got soul!