Films | Nautanki Saala! – Movie Review

Nautanki Saala! – Movie Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on April 15, 2013 | No Comments

PRODUCER – Ramesh Sippy, Bhushan Kumar, Kishan Kumar, Roopa De Chaudhury
DIRECTOR – Rohan Sippy
WRITER – Nipun Dharmadhikari, Rohan Sippy, Charu Dutt Acharya (adapted from the adapted from French comedy ‘Apres Vous’)
CAST – Ayushmann Khurana, Kunal Roy Kapur, Pooja Salvi, Gaelyn Mendonca, Evelyn Sharma
MUSIC – Mikey McCleary, Falak Shabbir, Ayushmann Khurrana, Rochak Kohli, Anand Milind, Rashid Khan, Laxmikant-Pyarelal

‘Yeh theatre hain, yahan drama nahi chalega,’ says the protagonist Ram (Ayushmann Khurana) to mopey Mandar. It is just one of those many ironies the sort-of-comedy-of errors film throws up, most turning into blind alleys.

Ram is a theatre actor (and from the way it looks, an affluent one!) playing the part of Ravan in a very successful show Ravanleela. He is apparently compelled by his habit of helping others and thus lands himself in a soup called Mandar Lele, when he saves him from suicide and takes it upon himself to reunite him with his lady love. Why, we have no clue. And upon that ‘why’ lies the crux of the film.

There seems to be no reason why Ram does everything, from jeopardizing his relationship to career to help a chap who won’t help himself, especially a complete stranger. He runs around looking for Nandini (Pooja Salvi) and after finding her, cooks up games fro her to break up with her current boyfriend only to land up in love with her himself and then wallow in self-pity. It all makes little sense, something the makers try hard to induce by juxtapositioning the story of Ramayana in this new age trio, a brave move if on may say, in these intolerant times.

There are lots of ticklish moments and laughs, especially the ones where the actor in Ram improvises lines and situations on the spur, bringing out the confident actor in Ayushmann Khurana brilliantly. But so loose is the plot and so full of holes and questions that no amount of tomfoolery or ‘nautanki’ as the film would have it, does any good. Songs are used thoughtlessly with the remix of the almost iconic ‘Dhak Dhak’ wasted away on a scene that didn’t need it. The quirky ‘Dil kit oh lag gayi’ is equally thrown away at a no-situation moment with Evelyn dancing listlessly.

The film doesn’t suffer from low production values for sure, the sets, costumes and presentation of the Ramayana with a glamorous though irreverent flair is imaginative and pleasing to the eye. What becomes extremely tacky is the performance of everyone barring Ayushmann and to an extent his producer, the superb Sanjeev Bhaat. Kunal Roy Kapur as the hopeless, self-pitying loser is one-note and walks around like a zombie, sulking child, investing no emotion or value in his character. The ladies are appalling misfits and even moreso acting abilities. Pooja Salvi as the lead is dull and uninspiring as a performer and completely wishy-washy as a character. Gaelyn Mendonca as Ram’s girlfriend shows spunk and confidence but lacks presence and lets down a decently meaty role. Evelyn Sharma as modern Sita is eye-candy at best with her Caucasian looks but is as cold as turkey.

As a film it isn’t dull, just way too meandering and full of forced drama because, well the title says so. You got the point, didn’t you?

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