Vicky Donor is a thoroughly entertaining fare

MUMBAI: Vicky Donor is a brave effort. The makers take up a contemporary subject of sperm donors, which very few would be familiar with, and knit it around a normal day-to-day family and romance stories in a middle-class Delhi Punjabi household. Many films are touted as contemporary but this one really is and what is more, it is a thoroughly entertaining fare.

Producers: Sunil Lulla, John Abraham, Ronnie Lahiri.
Director: Shoojit Sarcar.
Cast: Ayushmann Khurana, Yaami Gautam. Annu Kapoor, Dolly Ahluwalia, Kamlesh Gill, Jayanta Das, Bhupesh Pandya.

Vicky (Ayushmann Khurana) is 25-year-old man from Lajpat Nagar, Delhi, a locality identified as that of post-partition settlers. While his widowed mother runs a beauty parlour, Vicky generally loafs around till a job drops into his lap. He is a typical loud Delhi Punjabi but has his way with people as he charms his way through life. While he is sleeping, his room has been robbed clean by thief.

Vicky‘s reaction to this is to go sell off his dog to a neighbourhood kid. This sets the tone of what is to follow.

But this ‘transaction‘ of selling off an idle dog to a kid is observed by Annu Kapoor, a doctor specialising in finding solutions for couples who can‘t have children. In Vicky he sees an ideal sperm donor.

But it takes a while before Vicky agrees to the deal. These scenes are not only funny but on the way also explain the concept of sperm donation to a layman. For Vicky, money is the main attraction and his reports liken him to someone close to Aryan breed!

Vicky‘s life is set to change as yet another event happens in his life: while running errands for his mother, he visits a bank to open a new account and deposit money where he meets Yaami Gautam, a Bengali executive at the bank and after some boisterous, Delhi-brand of stalking, love blossoms. It is a tightrope walk for the hero to keep his secret from his family as well as his lady love and he often finds it hard to explain where he earns hordes of money from and how costly gifts keep pouring into his house.

What make Vicky Donor more fun to watch are the relationships between its various characters: between Ayushmann and Yaami Gautam, between him and Annu Kapoor, between him and his mother (Dolly Ahluwalia) as well as grandmother (Kamlesh Gill), between Annu Kapoor and his assistant and between Yaami Gautam and her father, Jayanta Das.

The most hilarious is the one between his mother and grandmother; these give a perfect foil to the film‘s casting. After a joyous debate between virtues (or lack of them) in Punjabis and Bengalis, the families agree to the marriage of Ayushmann and Yami Gautam. But soon the fun is over for Ayushmann as his secret is revealed and his love walks out on him.

Vicky Donor has been instrumental in siring 53 children in five years and now his wife is yearning for one of her own. The joy ride does get an agreeable and plausible ending.

Vicky Donor‘s triumph is in its well scripted story and dialogue. Nowhere is the comedy forced nor made to look cheap; the pace is fast. Performances are excellent from just about every character in the film.

Ayushmann and Yaami Gautam may be new to films but both are veterans of television and do their part most convincingly. Annu Kapoor reminds of his role in Mr India where he made his mark; his vocabulary is not complete without using the word sperm. Dolly Ahluwalia and Kamlesh Gill bring to life the lonely middle-class women. Their interactions are hilarious. Jayanta Das as the Bengali father is very good. Songs, though without lip-sync, blend with the mood of the film without hindering the tempo.

Cinematography is good. However, the ultimate praise should go to story-screenplay-dialogue writer Juhi Chaturvedi for her work.

With new names in credits, Vicky Donour may not have opened well but the word of mouth will surely help it improve its prospects.

Hate Story borders on banal

Producer: Vikram Bhatt.
Director: Vivek Agnihotri.
Cast: Gulshan Devaiya, Paoli Dam, Nikhil Dwivedi, Mohan Kapoor, Joy Sengupta.

The phrase "Hell has no fury like a woman scorned" has its origins in the 17th Century. It has often been the source of a story for films. In Hate Story, this theme is a mere excuse to sell a titillating drama.

Normally, however, even before the story starts the woman scorned should look vulnerable, win over the viewers‘ hearts and sympathies and the revenge should be honourable. Hate Story does not really care for such norms.

Paoli Dam is a reporter with a business publication who, along with her photographer colleague-cum-silent admirer, exposes a cement company‘s scam. The heir to the cement empire, Gulshan Devaiya, is infuriated and singles her out to avenge the defamation of his company‘s name. Taking revenge on the male photographer would not make an interesting story and provide no scope for nude scenes!

So, Devaiya offers Pauli Dam a job in his company at triple her present salary. She accepts and he takes her on a jaunt abroad. Celebrations starts come evening and after one swig of wine, Paoli Dam is not only ready to be seduced, she has also fallen deeply in love with her boss! Back in Delhi she finds her access to office denied. She has been dumped unceremoniously; the cement tycoon has had his revenge. This is cause enough for Pauli Dam to be scorned and to want to destroy her ex-boss and his empire.

For this story based on an old phrase, she chooses to take up the world‘s oldest profession, prostitution, to take her revenge. She even takes a crash course in prostitution from a local top-rated veteran in the trade.

What follows is a script of convenience as the protagonist goes on seducing first the cement empire‘s CEO and later the minister who favours the company. Nobody seems to care that she is not looking desirable as long as she is available. The CEO reveals to her all his company secrets while the minister not only bails her out of jail but even appoints her as a bank nominee director on the board of the cement empire!

The story and script in Hate Story border on banal. The makers seem to count on Paoli Dam‘s frequent exposure as the draw. No matter that the viewer finds no identification with either the woman‘s plight or her approach to revenge. The positive aspects of the film are its cinematography and few good dialogues.

Direction is clichéd. As for its casting, the makers seem to have chosen to opt for day-to-day faces rather than looks and personality. Gulshan Devaiya does well; Paoli Dam can‘t carry her role except when stripping. Nikhil Dwivedi and Joy Sengupta are okay. Saurabh Dubey is the one who does justice to his character.

Hate Story is aimed mainly at the single screen mass that will follow the film‘s posters to the cinema and come out mentally fatigued.

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