Fun, Frothy, Musical Romance As Long As Nargis Fakhri Does Not Speak
We make good musicals, that everyone knows. This film is about a street music band, hugely popular at religious festivals, community celebratory gatherings like dandiyas, but get no respect because they’re not posh ‘rock’ bands. This film brings their music and their lives on to cinema and tell us an engaging love story.
Local hoodlum Tarrat (played quite convincingly by Riteish Deshmukh) is an extortionist by day, and a Banjo player by night. His band is a bunch of misfits: Grease, Paper and Baaja. Grease (Dharmesh Yelande) obviously works in an auto garage; Paper distributes newspapers, Baaja plays little drums in a wedding band that plays melancholy music to get the bride to cry…
They make awesome party music. And the drums play through your chest as the Dolby Surround sound in the theater adds more magic. Then comes Nargis Fakhri out of New York, bearing her bizarre accent to Bombay in search of the sound and the frenzy that Banjo generates. The surprise connect is Luke Kenny who looks like a ‘firang’ but speaks like a local (the audience loves it when he speaks perfectly good Hindi!).
The accent is the one thing that annoys you so much you stuff popcorn in your ear to simply watch her generous lips (trying hard to not say ‘duckface’) mouth those words and wonder: How does she pout so much?
Her fisherwoman fantasy act in the song ‘Udanchhoo’ will make you forgive her everything. She looks gorgeous then. And there’s a club song ‘Rada’ is fun too.
Now Ms. Bizarre Accent wants to record two songs with the Banjo group to enter some contest (of course she seems to forget all that until the very end) so she gets some gig...But she ends up working for this awful research agency who sends her off to take pictures of unhappy people in slums. Who? Whaaaat? Whyyy? This brings Tarrat (she calls him Tarot in her bizarre accent!) to her. Every time she wants to tell him why she really is wandering about in the slums, something happens.
You cringe because you’re going to her her speak some more, alas.
The band is fabulous, and they share a brilliant chemistry. The film has been shot in narrow alleyways and the local thug Patil saab makes for a fun character to watch too. More than his gold, it was fun watching him near a plate of the mava cupcakes, every single time (even when he’s on the phone on the terrace, there’s a goon holding a plate of those cupcakes behind him!). Well done Ravi Jadhav! It is these little details that make up the movie.
While the second half sags a bit, it picks up pace rather quickly and you have fun. Loved the four of them at the funeral and loved the awful cops that beat up and talk at the same time. There’s a little boy called ‘Cutting’ who was a delight to watch. I loved Luke Kenny’s quiet support role, as much as I did the old man in a band uniform in the scene where Tarrat comes home drunk both on love and alcohol, and he quietly places his hand over the lad…
The fly in the ointment? The horrible stereotypical club owner played by Mohan Kapoor. Come on! We’re not in the 70s any more we could have done with a less lecherous person.
The climax is good fun. The movie ends rather well. Great song, and ending of rivalries. Yes, yes, there’s a rival band there too. Go watch them, and dance in the aisles. And hope Riteish stops acting in the awful sex comedies and gives us such happy frothy romances.
(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)