If one thing that did not appeal to me about this movie, it’d be its title...I was so unimpressed that I’d have let it go had it not been for the song ‘paani da rang’ and my neighbour, who raved about the reviews (which I had not read) and organized the movie evening. I am at my pinnacle of happiness when my pre-conceived notion about a movie is completely trashed...and this one did it right from the word go!
I would not go into the intricacies of what a unique idea the movie revolved around, that of a sperm-donor and how the movie tread the fine line – not preachy and not get vulgar. Also I would not delve deep into how the Delhi/Punjabi humour was beautifully etched without going overboard and not making it crass. The beauty of the movie lay in the way each character was portrayed and how each held its own without getting lost in the concept. Each moment & movement was justified, not a character or a situation was there just like that for the heck of it...let me explore it through the characters, as I felt them to be.
Vicky Arora, the protagonist has dual intonations. an epitome of ‘baatoN ka sher’, roams around as the ‘cool dude’, counters his mum at every step but essentially empathizes with her grief, accepts & supports her in the way she handles her pain (which is by downing a peg or two after sun-down). Vicky loves to get girls laid, but he recognizes vulnerability when he sees it, he knows the difference between sheer lust & love. Ayushman played it to the T!
Dr. Baldev Chaddha, ...seldom before in a regular mainstream flick, a character actor is allowed to almost shadow the ‘hero’...it only shows the creators’ comfort level and the confidence in their art. Dr. Chaddha seldom smiles in the movie, but I think every time he came onto the screen the audience rolled off their seats laughing! As an audience I never get to know that in a performance how much an actor contributes, how much the director does or the writer does; I only see the end-product and it’s meant to be that way. But Annu Kapoor Sa’ab with his body of work such as ‘Ek ruka hua faisla’ or even the brief role in ‘Mr. India’ to name a few, gives me an impression that he had a lot to contribute in portraying Dr, Chaddha. The way his fingers moved every time he mentioned ‘sperm’, without making it appear like a caricature...or how he explained our mythological trends of sperm donation with his facial expression about the role our ancient sages played in getting the queen pregnant when her Lordship suffered from infertility...these moments deserve a standing ovation!
Ashima Roy aka Toona..the quintessential non-resident Bong girl; She takes herself and life very seriously; Among all the characters portrayed in the movie hers is one which has evolved along the course of the movie. Initially she is the inhibited woman, tempted by the attention bestowed on her but scared to let go. As I had mentioned that every situation/action in the film is justified...her initial behaviour is justified by a bitter marital experience, which also helps in putting a argument when she accuses Vicky of not being transparent regarding his role as a sperm-donor in the latter half of the movie. The subtle changes in her are beautifully drawn – how she gets conscious about her appearance, her clandestine moments with her lover when the house is empty...the essence being how she welcomes happiness and faith in her life.
The landscape of the characters would not be complete without the mention of the self-reliant Mummy and the epitome of positivity – ‘Bijee’ ...as someone mentioned in Twitter – “Bijee should be awarded an Oscar or Nobel...” I wouldn’t go that far, but the ladies did put an unmistakable imprint in the movie.
I am an emotional person, so I get moved easily by these moments – Ashima proposing marriage to Vicky, couldn’t have been more real; Vicky explaining to his wife (the way it was shot explains that there’s a physical bond between them & he knows that she will understand) why his Mum drinks, Vicky’s conversation with Ashima over the phone after they fight and lastly his coming to Calcutta to make one last try, where he is fighting to have a placid exterior and plays it with emotion and good humour when there’s extreme turbulence inside.
Being a Bong myself I couldn’t help but notice...how Yami Gautam played the role so well. After the fight with her husband, she lands in her Calcutta home & her Dad asks her ...”toona, have you fought with him & Come?”...she replies “Na, Baba”...in a tone which is exactly the way I would say it. I really wonder how they got it so correct. And also the Pishi/Bua episode...an uncanny resemblance to something that I have experienced having married a North-Indian myself!
A mention of the songs is must...truthfully I didn’t find the Music that inspiring except for ‘Paani da rang’ sung by Ayushman...I believe he penned it in 2002...great going, it brings the heavy feeling inside my chest listening to it in 2012!
The only piece that struck me as extremely out-of-place was how Ashima’s Dad goes bragging about his sexual prowess...I really couldn’t figure that out & I wish the makers would have come with a little more imaginative title. But ignoring these tit-bits...I think the movie was a fabulous watch, a sheer treat for my senses.