Direction: Shashant Shah
Cast: Tusshar Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Dolly Ahluwalia, Ravi Kishan
Bollywood has made up its mind. What the underworld drama has been to Mumbai, the slice-of-life comedy must be to Delhi. The Punjab-isation (of weddings, accents, songs and sense of humour) in our movies isn’t new, but it’s a better fit in the Capital. There’s natural contrast afforded by the middle-class lives in the narrow lanes of Lajpat Nagar, versus the brazen display of wealth in sprawling Chhatarpur farmhouses. Add a corruption angle, some jugaad and jhol (concepts so indigenous, they are hard to translate), and you’re ready to roll. Bajatey Raho weaves in these elements, but unfortunately, does so in a story that’s rather pat.
Predictable meets implausible as the widow Mrs Baweja (Dolly Ahluwalia), her son Sukhi (Tusshar Kapoor) and co hatch plots to steal money back from the businessman Sabharwal (Ravi Kishan, hamming it as usual) who wronged her husband. So, among other set pieces, you have a sting operation, and a fake raid that suddenly reminds you of Special 26. A half-baked romance and needless song-and-dance are added to the mix.
The film does, however, have its moments. The neighbourhood uncle who requests the cable guy for the ‘English picture’ at night is rather real. As is a kitschy Sherawali version of a Desi Boyz song. Ahluwalia is as natural playing a Punjabi mother here as she was in Vicky Donor. And you can trust Vinay Pathak and Ranvir Shorey to handle their parts maturely, even if you’ve seen them in such parts before.
Shashant Shah’s Dasvidaniya (certainly a better film) lacked in originality of idea, but had good treatment. In parts, you could say the same of Bajatey Raho. Yes, it’s predictable. But if you’ve got to go see a new Hindi film this week, this is your best bet.