Friday, May 20, 2011

Pyaar Ka Punchnama 

Mean Girls

Luv Ranjan must have started out making a ‘cool’ comedy about today’s youth, but willy-nilly Pyaar Ka Punchnama has become a slightly dark look at the lonely lives of young people who move out of home and native town to seek careers in big cities.  The independence is exhilarating at first, and then the nesting instinct strikes. This one’s set in Delhi, but the tall, cold, glass-fronted towers of BPO hell could be anywhere.
Rajat (Kartikeya Tiwari), Chaudhary (Rayo Bhakhirta) and Liquid (Divyendu Sharma) share an apartment, all of them in decently paid jobs that allows for splurges on booze and junk food.  They have a typical sitting-around-in-undies and-gaming unencumbered bachelor existence, but they are lonely and on the lookout for potential girlfriends.

While it may be true that living by themselves in Delhi would make most girls tough, the women this trio of nice guys comes across can only be described as mean, manipulative and inhumanly selfish.
Rajat moves in with nagging Neha (Nushrat Bharucha), Chaudhary meets Riya (Sonalli Sehgal), who wants to keep both him and her ex boyfriend dangling, Liquid (Divyendu Sharma) becomes a “pet dog” of Charu (Ishita Sharma), who shamelessly exploits him, while carrying on a long-distance relationship.

The film, a simpler, cruder version of buddy flicks like Dil Chahta Hai and the more recent Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji, seems a bit too MCP-ish, with the guys shown as uniformly generous and loving, and the girls as uniformly nasty.  At least in Delhi, there is a bit of a predatory scenario where men are concerned, but the women seem to have no trouble walking through the minefields of work, romance and family (mostly absent) with not a scratch on their emotional mindscapes.  That seems unnatural and one-sided. Also, once the characteristics of the three men and women have been established, the film just gets repetitive. 

Where Luv Ranjan scores is in the simple, colloquial dialogue (lots of bleeped out profanity, though) and the sporadic flashes of wicked humour. He also gets easy-flowing performances from his actors-- Divyendu Sharma as Liquid is outstanding.

Urban angst and the ever-changing rules of the battle of the sexes could make for a much better film, but seen without any expectations, this one does deliver a few solid punches.


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