Saturday, July 23, 2005

MPKK & Viruddh 

Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya

When David Dhawan gets a decent plot and a good team of actors together, he gets inspired to come up with a high-energy comedy like Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi before this).

Obviously Salman Khan is his new ‘muse’ after Govinda, and the star all but stands on his head to ensure that he gets the laughs written into the script—liberally borrowed from the popular play and 1969 film Cactus Flower.

Salman plays Dr Samir, who has invented a fictitious wife to keep girlfriends at bay. But when he falls in love with Sonia (Katrina Kaif), a ‘suicide-prone’ airhead, and she wants to meet his wife, he asks his staid nurse Naina (Sushmita Sen, who couldn’t look frumpy if she tried!) to pretend to be the wife.

The lie spins out of control, because Sonia wants to meet the kids, then the wife’s boyfriend and finally insists on attending court for the divorce proceedings, and a whole lot of playacting is required. Then Samir’s slap-happy mother (Bina Kak) turns up and prevents the ‘divorce’, so Naina is forced to go on with the charade.

Other oddball characters who run in and out of the ‘tamasha’ are Sonia’s besotted neighbour Pyaremohan (Sohail Khan—trying to hard to be cute), Samir’s best friend (Arshad Warsi--hilarious), his girlfriend (Isha Koppikar) and a crazy soldier (Rajpal Yadav), pretending to be crippled.

The laugh-a-minute, breakneck speed of the first half slows down, with needless diversions, self-conscious parody of TV soaps (saas-bahu battles) and digs at films like Baghbaan; the Rajpal Yadav track is an irritant. But the actors’ spirit never slumps, the peppy songs (Himesh Reshammiya) come at perfect intervals, and corny though the film may be, Dhawan never gives the audience time to breathe or say ‘what the heck’!

It’s ages since such a delightfully sweet bimbo was seen in a Hindi film, and Katrina Kaif does the role with the right amount of absurdity and wide-eyed innocence, so she actually makes you believe that a girl can be so stupid and so considerate. Salman Khan gets better at comedy with every film, and here he keeps his tendency to overact firmly in check. Sushmita Sen looks sexy and does her part with a sense of abandon that is fun to watch.

What is most commendable that a veteran director, with considerable support from his writers (Rumi Jafri), Sanjay Chhel) and actors, has made such a chilled-out, youthful and lively film, with almost no vulgarity and double entendre kept to a minimum.


The Angry Young Man used to go around eliminating human vermin. Today, as a senior citizen, he is angry again, and eliminating the same species of vermin—only now he does it with an attitude of civility tinged with regret, and cuts out the bombast.

Mahesh Manjrekar’s Viruddh—a bit of Saaransh, a bit of In The Bedroom—seems designed for Amitabh Bachchan, and maybe, without really intending to, also counter the ‘cool’ youth culture pervading Bollywood today.

Vidyadhar Patwardhan (Bachchan) and his wife Sumi (Sharmila Tagore) are a retired couple, living a tranquil live in a suburban bungalow (a bit too extravagant for a middle class family). Their only son Amar (John Abraham) is studying in the UK.

The first half of the film (in the Baghban tradition), goes into ‘cute’ mode, as they tease each other over their ailments, he meets his buddies in the park and participates in the laughter club; they first squabble with and then befriend the rough neighbourhood mechanic (Sanjay Dutt). Amar arrives with girlfriend Jenny (Anusha Dandekar) in tow, she is quickly assimilated the family and taught Hindi.

Then in one of those mindless incidents Amar is killed in a brawl and the film plunges right into cliché territory. The killer Harshvardhan (Amitabh Dayal) happens to be the Home Minister’s son, there is the usual police insensitivity and cover-up, and allegations of “opposition” plot to defame the minister. It is proved in court that Amar was a drug peddler and murdered by his cohorts. A grief stricken Patwardhan, resigned to the fact that he will get no justice, struggles to clear his son’s name.

It needed actors of the calibre of Amitabh Bachchan and Sharmila Tagore to lend serenity to their parts and constantly stop the film from degenerating into tear-jerking melodrama. Some well-written scenes and good lines (Amar’s death scene for instance) move the viewer any way, but never try to manipulate emotions.

One may feel disappointed by the predictability of the outcome, but there is still sympathy and admiration for the man who gets his revenge, without actually being cruelly vengeful. The scene between Patwardhan and Harshvardhan is directed and played out with remarkable restraint—no teeth-gnashing histrionics on either side.

Even with its flaws, Viruddh is the best film Manjrekar has made so far, and he is lucky to have got the actors he did—who could bring the film alive with warmth, pathos and complete dignity. Amitabh Bachchan and Sharmila Tagore both give marvellous performances, with Sanjay Dutt livening up the proceedings whenever he appears. John Abraham and Anusha Dandekar lend the sombre, songless (mercifully!) film its swathes of colour.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker