Direction: Shoojit Sircar
Actors: Yami Gautam, Annu Kapoor, Ayushmann Khurrana
Vicky Donor is one of those rare Hindi films that work purely on the strength of writing and performances. There are no crutches here of stars, sets, styling or foreign locations. But director Shoojit Sircar and writer Juhi Chaturvedi create a heart-felt, keenly observed comic-drama. Sadly, Vicky Donor derails in the second half - the climax is flat-out foolish - but until then, it's great fun.
The milieu is 'Dilli,' that is Lajpat Nagar and Daryaganj (think Band Baaja Baaraat on a lower budget). Vicky Arora, played by Ayushmann Khurrana, is the charming, loutish Punjabi boy-next-door who aspires to a better life. "Mummy, I want respect,' he says. 'I want class.' Mummy, played by Dolly Ahluwalia, runs a beauty parlour. She's a fierce widow but the magic in this house comes from Biji, the feisty grandmother played by Kamlesh Gill, who knocks back a few drinks every evening and wants a 32 GB iPhone. At one point, Vicky tells her: 'Dilli mein do cheezen modern hai, ek metro aur ek aap.'
Vicky doesn't have a job or much focus but he becomes a prize catch for Dr Baldev Chaddha, an infertility specialist. Because, as Chaddha, says, 'By God, kamaal da sperm count hai.' Chaddha convinces Vicky to become a sperm donor, which works well for both of them until Vicky falls in love.
There isn't enough of a plot here but what keeps Vicky Donor humming along is Sircar's and Chaturvedi's ability to find humour in the commonplace. They have a real affection for these characters. There's a lovely scene in which Biji and Mummy are drinking and gently berating each other. The tragicomic Chaddha, played terrifically by Annu Kapoor, is also a knock-out; this is a man who has a plastic sperm as a car ornament.
What doesn't work as well is the love story (though the Bengali-Punjabi parental clash is laugh-out-loud funny) and the resolution of Vicky's thorny problem. Sircar wants to make a case for sperm donation but the film falters when it moves into preachy melodrama. Still, there is much to like here, including Khurrana's performance though I'm still figuring out what was going on with the pink lips!
Check out Vicky Donor. It's a nice surprise.