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Review: Straight

india Updated: Apr 20, 2009 17:41 IST
Shashi Baliga

Straight: Ek Tedhi Medhi Love Story
Cast: Vinay Pathak, Gul Panag, Siddharth Makkar, Anuj Choudhry
Direction: Parvathy Balagopalan
Rating: **

Is he gay? Is he bi? No, he’s Pinuman — just confused, clumsy and unlucky in love. So Pinu Patel (Vinay Pathak), prosperous owner of the (wink, wink) Gaylord restaurant in London, can’t decide whether he’s lusting after his delectable female cashier Renu (Gul Panag) or Kamlesh, his lanky male cook-cum-standup comedian (Anuj Choudhry). <b1>

The former dimples sweetly at him but the latter kisses him smack on the lips, making his choice even more difficult. (Director Parvati Balagopalan does not give Pinu the option of lusting after both; now that would have been interesting.)

So Pinu remains a virgin, desperate to get married so he can prove a point to himself. ’Cos, you see, he’s been ditched on his wedding day, unable to perform with a tacky seductress (can’t blame him in this case) and hospitalised after overdosing on Viagra. More clichéd calamities befall him, but we’ll spare you the details.

Given that his chief advisor, Rajat (Siddharth Makkar), is a cocky singer who keeps crowing “bonk-a-doodle-do”, you can understand why Pinu remains an unfulfilled Lothario.

Sure, there are a lot of men out there in India (and perhaps in Southall?) who don’t know or don’t want to admit they’re gay. But none as daft as this Pinu Patel. Balagopalan might be well-meaning but this is a rather clumsy — and sometimes dangerously so — view of homosexuality.

Some hamming and amateurish acting doesn’t improve matters. But Vinay Pathak and Gul Panag give the film much of its credibility with their sincerity and ability to rise above some very corny situations and lines. It’s a shame to see two actors so good thrown in such roles; they deserved better.

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