Sunday, 14 April 2013

NAUTANKI SAALA : Movie Review


Rohan Sippy’s latest presentation is far more cohesively constructed and sure of its raison d’être than his last films. This one is just not funny enough to qualify as a LOL spree. At the same time the bum-chum camaraderie between Ayushmann and Kunal Roy Kapoor is so pronouncedly pungent that we cannot but chuckle at the gamboling antics that take this desi French Fri-day special to the level of bearable humour.


SCRIPT & SCREENPLAY                                                                             :  The credit for the screenplay as well as dialogues of this movie has been shared by three namely NIPUN DHARMADHIKARI, CHARU DUTT ACHARYA & ROHAN SIPPY .  Nautanki Saala is a remake of a 10-year old French film Apres Vous . While the French film directed by Pierre Salvadori is far more nimble-footed in the telling of a quirky ‘One Fine Evening....’ plot, the “official” remake ( scores for the sheer joie de vivre (don’t miss my French appreciation) that Ayushmann n Kunal bring to the table. The basic problem here, despite the potential, is the script progresses too slowly. Especially after Pooja Salvi’s Nandini comes in the picture; it’s not just Ram and Mandar who lose focus.True, there are moments of genuine laughter but this fleeting gratification demands extensive wait and endurance. Sippy punctuates his scenes with too many pauses resulting in a dawdling pace and delayed conflicts. The film begins inside a shrink’s office with theatre actor/director Ram Parmar (Ayushmann Khurana) revealing the reason behind his sudden loss of appetite, insomnia, heavy drinking, three simultaneous break-ups and, maybe, why he is tugging so tightly to a teddy bear that resembles Ted (in mute mode)?  In this apathetic city, where everyone begins honking crazily and gets abusive if a car takes just two extra seconds to start after the signal turns green, Ram not only notices a man (Kunaal Roy Kapur as Mandar) trying to take his life but also takes him in, provides him with food, clothing, shelter, hospital bills, applying Betadine on his butt, drives him to Pune, meets his grandmother (Sulbha Arya), refuses to be repulsed by his mucous dripping nose and then promptly offers the guy a parallel lead role of Lord Ram in his play, Ravanleela while working over-time to fix the hopeless chap’s messy love life, also the reason behind his initial suicide attempt. It’s all very far-fetched obviously since Ram isn’t lonely or desperate for company. He doesn’t exactly seem like a philanthropist either. The man appears consumed by theatre and his live-in girlfriend (a charming Gaelyn Mendonca); he’s clearly very successful, affluent -- lives in a tasteful pad in SoBo with pockets overflowing with 500 rupee notes.

STARCAST                                                                                                         :    The movie definitely scores high as far as performances are concerned especially bum-chum camaraderie between Ayushmann  and Kunal  is so pronouncedly pungent that we cannot but chuckle at the gamboling antics that take this desi French Fri-day special to the level of bearable humour. AYUSHMANN KHURRANA bequeaths a clenched vitality to his character. Here’s an actor who knows how to milk a situation or a line and exactly where to stop before it goes over the top. As the reluctant exceedingly altruistic host to a suicidal guest Khurrana goes beyond his Vicky Donor debut to show some hefty mettle. KUNAL ROY KAPOOR as all of us who have seen that homage to horniness called Delhi Belly, is an actor with notable comic acumen. Here as the spaced-out suicidal stranger who blows into Khurana’s theatrical existence Kapoor confers a sense of hectic audacity to his intruder’s part. As far as the lovely leading ladies are concerned, it becomes very difficult to ascertain who has played a longer part or who has been able to rise above charms to showcase her acting skills ( If any ) in even one scene. Unfortunately the answer is a BIG BIG NO. Still for the sake of comparison, it is POOJA SALVI aka Nandini who has managed to outshine by managing some expressions in emotional scenes. EVELYN SHARMA as Seeta & GAELYN MENDONCA as Chitra have successfully added charming value to the movie with their seductive antics. In the ensemble cast there are RUFY KHAN, SULBHA ARYA & not to forget ABHISHEK BACHCHAN ( final title song ).  

TECHNICAL DETAILS                                                                                         : The music for the movie has been composed by coterie of musicians that include MIKEY MC.CLEARY, FALAK SHABBIR, ROCHAK KOHLI, AYUSHMANN KHURRANA &  RASHID KHAN but still its only couple of tracks that manage to impress. Cinematography is by MANOJ LOBO who has managed to saturate the screen with rich shades adding vibrant look to the proceedings and has done a commendable job. Another person who deserves a mention for outstanding contribution is Costume designer PRIYANJALI LAHIRI who has done a fantastic job especially with respect to stage costumes that she has designed. Editing of the movie has been done by AARIF SHAIKH who has done an okay  job. Coming to the director of the movie, ROHAN SIPPY  punctuates his scenes with too many pauses resulting in a dawdling pace and delayed conflicts, which makes its 131 minutes running time lengthier than it should.  . Accents are often used as a means to amuse. Sippy uses the ploy but without any intent to ridicule or distort cultural stereotypes and so you chuckle without remorse. For all its frothy build-up, which peaks during Mandar’s disastrous audition turned hilarious game of dumb charades scene and Ram’s bumbling attempt to pass him off as an actor of note. The irony of the movie is that in the end it looks a bit stretched. But one thing is sure that ROHAN SIPPY definitely deserves applause for believing and making this kind of cinema.

OVER THE HEAD                                                                                            :     The scene where Ram & his play's producer are taking an audition of Mandar has been stretched awfully long. Similarly, Nandini's instantly falling in love with Ram looks completely illogical & to add to the woes, the same evening she is shown dining again with her ex fiancee. It seems too fast even by Hollywood standards.

WOW MOMENTS                                                                                              : Kunal Roy Kapoor in his pre interval avatar has done Wow acting by depicting his character to perfection n his chemistry with Ayushmann adds to the wow moments. The theater scene where Ram comes to pick up the Dhanush during Seeta swayambar is outrageously funny.

CONCLUSION                                                                                                    :    Rohan Sippy’s creation shows so much promise and has several moments which definitely titillate you. But it is more of an intelligent cinema which will appeal to a certain section of audience only. The reason being it is more of a situational comedy and does not have those gags or that deliberately in-fused humor in the screenplay.


ROHIT SHARMA.
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