Chalo Dilli: A tale of two opposites

Producer: Lara Dutta, Krishika Lulla, Kavita Bhupathi Chadda.
Director: Shashant Shah.
Cast: Vinay Pathak, Lara Dutta, Akshay Kumar (Guest).

MUMBAI: Opposites don‘t necessarily attract, especially if they happen to be Lara Dutta and Vinay Pathak. However, if these two are stuck in the middle of nowhere on a chilly winter night, what they do is create some funny situations.

Vinay Pathak is a gutkha chewing Karol Bagh, Delhi sari merchant for whom the whole world is a spittoon, and Lara Dutta, a no nonsense corporate honcho. Vinay Pathak‘s philosophy in life is, ‘So what‘s the big deal‘ while Lara Dutta is a spic and span, immaculate one for whom only one kind of world exists - her kind, where she makes the rules.

Fate brings these two together when Lara is on her way to Mumbai airport to catch a flight to Delhi when otherwise street smart Vinay spills his travelling bag all over the road while attempting to get it in to a rickshaw, blocking Lara‘s passage. Having missed her flight as a result, she ends up on the same budget flight with Vinay. This Delhi bound flight is diverted to Jaipur and Lara is left to fend for herself, find her own way to Delhi by whichever means; Vinay happens to latch on to her.

From then on, Lara, the woman who otherwise controls multi crore funding operations and 650 workers, loses control over her life; Vinay Pathak takes the lead. Vinay‘s quest for finding instant solutions to problems and tricky situations tends to lend him in trouble, pulling Lara Dutta along; what is more, his solutions to get out of them get them into more trouble.

No, there is no romance between the stranded two, it is all bhaisaab and Bhneji; Vinay‘s antics and sweet talking, and his bonding, be it with a truck driver or a fellow passenger. While Vinay is unperturbed, Lara is exasperated. If you think the fun is over or it should end if it is not over yet, there is this sonnet like turn in the story as the film ends on a touching note and showing the cause of ‘So what‘s the big deal‘ ideology of Vinay Pathak aka Manu Gupta.

The film is a Vinay Pathak show all the way who seems to possess a natural feel for such characters and he does it with conviction with Lara Dutta proving to be a perfect foil. Yana Gupta‘s item number and Akshay Kumar‘s guest appearance help as good distractions. The photography is good. Dialogue is earthy and witty. Music is okay. Direction is praiseworthy, what with holding a film together with mostly two characters in your frame.

A victim of poor release strategy, Chalo Dilli will sadly end up getting only good word of mouth, not returns. Hopefully, it will score better on video circuit.

Shor In The City: A narrative in jumps and patches

Producer: Shobha Kapoor, Ekta kapoor.
Director: Raj Nidimoru, Krishna Dk.
Cast: Tusshar Kapoor, , Alok Chaturvedi, Sudhir Chowdhary, Pitobash Tripathy, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Nikhil Dwivedi, Preeti Desai, Radhika Apte.

MUMBAI: Someone somewhere always thinks he/she knows Mumbai best, knows it like nobody ever knew it and dares to depict it on celluloid. However, save for a couple of films to date, usually what comes out is a sketchy perception of earlier versions.

Shor In The City is one such film which tells about the great metropolis that is Mumbai the way it is not, trying to uncomplicate its underbelly and petty crimes and criminals. The story runs on three tracks, that of Tusshar and his two sidekicks, Pitobash Trapathy and Nikhil Dwivedi on one track; Sendhil Ramamurthy on the other and Sandeep Kishan being third.

Tusshar is a ‘publisher‘, he prints pirated editions of English bestseller books to dispatch them to roadside signal vendors; he prints them on a treadle machine by which time the third original edition would be out anyway. While not doing that, he commits petty crimes like stealing and picking pockets along with his sidekicks; there is no explanation as to how and why he has married since he keeps his wife, Radhika Apte, at arm‘s length.

Sendhil Ramamurthy has come back to India from USA to start a small business as he keeps indicating with his thumb and index finger and inch from each other. Sendhil‘s plans are held to ransom by some out of sync knife wielding local goons who want protection money to let him do his business. Sandeep Kishan, the third element, is an aspiring IPL cricket star whose selector wants Rs 1 million to select him on team. So, in this city of resources and opportunities, they decide to take law into their own hands.

To give the film a typical Mumbai touch, the events take place during 11 day duration of Ganpati festival (and then they complain about shor in the city).

The narrative is in jumps and patches, the director neither bothering with telling the backgrounds or reasons of the goings-on or his characters. It is as if this is Mumbai and this is how things happen here. With this approach, the depiction is more like a slide show than a movie! The music works well for the film with the song ‘Manne sahebji….‘ being the pick while ‘Karma is a bitch ….‘ being aptly racy. Dialogue is good at places.

As for actors, the film is more about looks rather than performance. However, Tusshar shows great improvement while Sendhil manages aptly with his angry look. With Nikhil Dwivedi and Sandeep Kishan being fair, it is Pitobash Tripathy who excels, getting totally into the skin of his character.

Shor In The City depicts dirty side lanes and ugliness of the city and the glamour aspect which attracts youth is missing; its reach will be restrained.

Men Will Be Men: A poor attempt at comedy

Producer: Seagram‘s Imperial Blue Superhits.
Director: Gorky.
Cast: Rajesh Kumar, Gaurav Chopraa, Rohit Khurana, Rahil Tandon, Zeenal Kamdar and Rajesh Khattar.

MUMBAI: Men Will Be Men is an attempt at comedy which is sad; sad because it is a mere 70-minute duration film with not even seven laughter evoking scenes. You get the hint of what is in store right from the opening scene when the four friends discuss "plan for evening‘ on office intercom and all four come out with the same line ‘dinner with Katrina‘. Here was the chance to think up four responses, each wackier than the other.

Four young men, Rajesh Kumar, Rahil Tandon, Gaurav Chopraa and Rohit Khurana, have grown together, passed out from college together and are now working in the same ad agency. They live by rote; leave office at 7 pm and hit the bar. On one such evening sitting on bar stools, they talk about life becoming too mechanical and how they need a much needed break and go on a vacation. They sell some sob story to the boss and head out to Pattaya with only agenda being women.

Once in Patayya, the gang of four embarks on an ogling spree (talk about giving Indians a bad name abroad!), every woman on the street, the receptionist at the hotel et al till their eyes rest on Zeenal Kamdar, whose work profile is Guest Relations at the hotel but she teaches yoga to guests (none of whom looks like a luxury hotel guest) and whatever else suits the script. The antics of these four to wean over Zeenal Kamdar and the way they are taken for a ride by her is what the film is about and expected to make you laugh; whatever else it may succeed in doing, making you laugh it certainly does not.

With a childish script and amateurish direction, Men Will Be Men is not even a travelogue on Pattaya since it deals with just about three to four locations. The four, Rajesh Kumar, Rahil Tandon, Gaurav Chopra, Rohit Khurana, are overacting when not hamming while Zeenal Desai spreads her one and half expression thin throughout the duration of the film. If the music is poor, choreography is poorer still.

Men Will Be Men is poor in all aspects.

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