Friday, October 14, 2011

My Friend Pinto 

One Night in Mumbai

Stories of village innocents lost in the city were done with a certain lyricism by Raj Kapoor (who was inspired by Charlie Chaplin).  In trying to make Prateik fit that hat Raaghav Dar’s My Friend Pinto suffers from a spectacular case of miscasting. The actor does not have that unspoiled innocence on his face—he looks doped—nor does he have the sunny personality that would make one believe that he spreads happiness wherever he goes.
Michael Pinto clutches a bag, walks with a reluctant gait, bumps into and breaks things all the time, and blinks like he needs sleep.  He could perhaps pass off as a slightly retarded.  He lands up uninvited to visit his friend Samir (Arjun Mathur), who has problems with his job, his wife (Shruti Seth), with life in general.  He is due for a life altering experience, which his friend Pinto is expected to provide.
While Samir is stuck in a traffic jam on new year’s eve, when, it also rains (amazing! rain in Mumbai, in December!),  Pinto accidentally embarks on a series of adventures that involve a gangster (Makrand Deshpande) because a Mumbai by night film can never do without a don. The don has an aide (Raj Zutshi) whose dentures are worse than his hairdo, two moronic twin buttonmen (Amin and Karim Haji), a drunk mistress (Divya Dutta) and a bag full of missing money.  Pinto also encounters two squabbling men, a gambler, several urchins, a pup and a runaway girl (Kalki Koechlin).  Before you say Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin, the entire cast assembles at a new night club owned by the don.
The only remarkable thing about the film? Mumbai’s theatregoers will be able to spot many stage actors and faces that are seen hanging out at Prithvi theatre.


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