Friday, February 04, 2011

Utt Patang 

Into the Maze

Another ‘disciple’ of Quentin Tarantino jumps out of the hedge, so to say, with a film that runs around in circles, and ends up nowhere.

Srikanth V. Velagaleti co-writer and director writes Utt Patang a convoluted thriller, about gangsters,  femmes fatales, stolen money, thwarted love, and a loser at the centre of the cyclone.

The device of capturing a moment from various points of view to complete a jigsaw of events that take place in one night would have been exciting to watch, if the characters and what they were going through was interesting or novel.  Every low-budget filmmaker believes that a gangster caper is the way to go. Not everyone can make it tick.

There is a small bunch of actors—almost a repertory—that acts in so many of these films, with a certain degree of competence and sense of enjoyment.  So much so, if Vinay Pathak is in a movie, you expect Ranvir Shorey and Rajat Kapoor to turn up. They don’t, but Saurabh Shukla does, and he is an actor who always excels in playing quirky parts.  Vinay Pathak’s bumbling loser is beginning to pall now.

He plays Ram, who has been dumped by his girlfriend Sanjana (Mahie Gill-- dull), who insists on coming over to his house to pick up her stuff (Ram lives in a lavish apartment, but drives a scooter?). On the insistence of his detective buddy Nandu (Saurabh Shukla), he goes out to dine, and gets involved in the travails of a homeless woman Koyal (Mona Singh, comatose).

Sanjana has stolen money from her new boyfriend Lucky (Vinay Pathak) who is a lookalike of Ram and for some reason, speaks French, acts like Inspector Clouseau (from Pink Panther) and fears his wife (Delnaz Paul, irritating).    Nandu goes to the gangster’s den to return the money, and the problems multiply.

At least Velagaleti was smart enough to realize that this plot, narrated in linear fashion had no chance of working. So he spent time and effort to give it a back-and-forth, multiple POV structure, that is a pro as well as a con.  Some may find the treatment fresh and audacious, some may get fed-up with the needless complication.  Velagaleti aims to please, and perhaps offers mild amusement.  May not be worth a trip to the ’plex, but can be recommended for a DVD watch.


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