Director: Pradeep Sarkar
Actors: Deepika Padukone, Neil Nitin Mukesh
Taporis exist more in our cinemas than the city they try to replicate. Bolay toh (in a manner of speaking), you’ll realise, within months of tourism in Mumbai, that no one quite commonly talks in the ‘Bambaiya’ vocabulary, developed by writers for films alone. Where a doctor’s assistant is a “dispensary” (Munnabhai MBBS), a short man a dedh footiya (Vaastav), or in this case, a ballet-dancer of the neighbourhood’s a “dance bar”. The suggested roadside slang still makes for loved humour, always worth looking forward to.
Dull filmmakers here know this, attempt it, but are in no position pull it off. The said dancer goes blind in a road accident. Her mawali (loafer) friends make light of her situation: Ek hi jhatke mein Hema Malini se thenga Malini! It’s the best line so far. No one’s likely to laugh.
With few references pointed to the real, cramped ghettos of Mumbai allow for huge dance floors and gymnasiums (at Andheri’s Yashraj studio, perhaps). This is where One-shot Nandu (Neil, reasonably sincere), a prized fighter, teaches the blind dancer (Deepika, roughly spunky) to master her sense of smell and sound to overcome the lack of sight.
Both rehearse together as dancing partners on roller skates. The premise seems evidently clear. This is, I guess, a film on dance (Flash Dance, Shall We Dance etc). There’s but too little of dance here, and most of it rank ordinary to make the genre’s grade. The music itself, for a given musical, appears borrowed from recent films labeled for the supposed youth (Rock On, Wake Up Sid).
A cop, beyond his call of duty, personally investigates the accident that cost the heroine her eyes. There was more to the mishap than the suggested car crash. A don had sent his minion, the hero’s brother, to kill off his rivals. The don himself, baldpate, golden teeth, is the hero’s surrogate dad. Running local trains overlook Mumbai’s underbelly. You’re definitely in for a gangster film (Ghulam, Parinda, or On The Waterfront that inspired both).
The blindfolded hero knocks his opponents out with a single punch. Men fight like cocks. Betting crowds surround the ring. This has to be a street fighter boxing movie then.
You will never know. I give up. It’s not even worth trying to figure. The overloaded confusion never ends. Going back to the dance movie, the leading pair, having a ball with the ballet, makes it to the final round of a popular talent show on television. A friend cautions the hero: “The audience's vote decides all. There are three kinds of audiences. Housewives, aunties: give them the ‘saas-bahu’ (soap opera) look. Young dudes: show them off your dolay sholay (muscles). Young girls: they’re already on your side; just don't overact.” The words are spoken with rare conviction.
The director on this one sussed out the first set of audience with his last film (Laaga Chunari Mein Daag). He’s forcing himself now to check on the other two. Such scatter-brained, mish-mash of a movie is only possible when the makers' eyeballs are trained at some sucker or the other the cinema's intended for, and not the soul of even a semblance of a script. I’m sorry, but my eyes are turning bleary now. Be careful. So would yours.