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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mere Dad Ki Maruti  



Dude, It’s The Car


Yashraj Productions’ youth wing, that has made films like Mujhse Fraandship Karoge and Luv Ka The End, comes up with another film aimed at teens, who just want to have some fun at the movies. They presumably want to see young actors, bubble gummy- brightness, surface emotions, a danceable track or two, and hear their own ‘lingo’.

Ashima Chibber’s debut film, Mere Dad Ki Maruti, delivers all this in measured doses, and as the skinny plot unfolds with a bit (not quite enough) of Punjabi quirkiness, there is much to keep the young viewer amused—most importantly mild teen rebellion against stern dads. Moms just hover around nervously! The story, such as it is, has been lifted from Dude, Where’s My Car?  and suitably sanitized.

Chibber does manage to catch the aspirational vibe of Chandigarh, where young people speak heavily accented English; the boys lust after mini-skirted girls, who wish to be seen as hot.  Saqib Saleem plays middle-class young Smeer (Punjabis tend to swallow the ‘a’), who can’t get girls to look at him because he doesn’t have a car.  But when, quite by chance, he lands a date with “Chandigarh Ki Shakira, call me Jazlin” aka Jasleen (Rhea Chakraborty) he obviously can’t go fetch her in a cycle rickshaw. So he steals a brand new car (it’s a Maruti which gets great product placement) that his father (Ram Kapoor) has bought as a gift for his potential son-in-law... and manages to lose it.


 With friend Gattu (Prabal Panjabi) in tow—the kind of all-weather buddy found only in films-- he has many split second scrapes in trying to prevent his father from finding out, and desperately making sure the car reaches home in time for the wedding.

Life in Chandigarh, an extravagant wedding where money is spent on rituals and shopping, but the booze is adulterated, the typical Punju colloquialisms-- Chibber pays attention to details, while keeping the pace brisk.

Saqib Saleem does well as the good-for-nothing teen, who reveals a clean heart behind all the dad-bashing.  Ram Kapoor is perfectly cast as the loud Punjabi father, who for a change, dotes on the daughter, and gives the son a tough time.  Chances are the film will be forgotten the minute it ends, but while it lasts, at least it makes you care for the hapless Smeer. 

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