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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Raja Natwarlal  


Con On The Cob

A caper film has no business being as boring as Raja Natwarlal.  Set aside the right and wrong of it for a moment-- a film about an expert swindler has to be both fun and edge of the seat; the conman should not take the gullibility of his victim for granted, just as the filmmaker  (Kunal Deshmukh) telling this story should not have taken the audience’s inattentiveness for granted.

Raja (Emraan Hashmi) is a small time crook, who sets up a stall in the street and does the three card trick with his accomplice Raghav (Deepak Tijori). But Raja is in love with a bar dancer, Ziya (Humaima Malick), and wants to get rich quick. They steal from men who belong to the gang of Cape Town based gangster Vardha Yadav (Kay Kay Menon), and the blowback is instant.  Raghav is killed and a grief-stricken Raja wants revenge—not just Yadav’s death, as he says, but a fate worse than that.

He approaches a retired conman Victor Singh Khan aka Yogi (Paresh Rawal) for help. Yogi offers him both words of wisdom and a complicated plan to clean out Yadav. Which is where the problem lies. The scam is too big to be believable, requires too many people, several coincidences and just plain lazy writing that assumes that a don as powerful as Yadav is an idiot

They plan to sell the cricket crazy Yadav a league team that does not exist, and set up as his rival for cricket memorabilia and the team, a fake Gujarati tycoon (Rawal); they plant Google profiles of a phony cricket board official and organise a bogus auction. Never mind that these days it is easy to check anyone out, so it’s impossible for a man to pretend to be an African businessman; anyway the scheme is riddled with holes and script conveniences.

Deshmukh leaves too much for his actors to manage— luckily for him, Hashmi, Rawal and Menon are seasoned enough to do these roles in their sleep. Other weak links—the ineffectual leading lady and the tepid music. The few Hashmi fans who had wandered into the moviehall didn’t even get a single scene to whistle at-- no laughs, no sizzle, no action.


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