Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai movie review: A pointless, witless remake
Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai
Director: Soumitra Ranade
Cast: Manav Kaul, Nandita Das, Saurabh Shukla
I first encountered Albert Pinto and his notorious temper with a laugh. Directed by Saeed Mirza, the 1980 film Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai was a seething indictment of pressures faced by the common man, and, in 1983, the provocative title was used as a nonsensical password in the comedy Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro. Both starred Naseeruddin Shah, the in-joke was friendly, and — as is the case with comedies that transcend the times they lampoon — exponentially more people have laughed at the gag than heard of the original. It’s the kind of neglect that would truly tick off a real Albert Pinto.
With Mirza’s blessings, filmmaker Soumitra Ranade has now repurposed that title for a thriller. The original film remains remarkably potent, its fury still relatable and justified, and the only conceivable reason for a remake would be to update the politics, singling out modern oppressors. Ranade tries nothing of the sort, settling for a mediocre thriller which can’t keep up with its characters — or their indignation.
Watch Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai trailer:
Saurabh Shukla has fun as a handsy hoodlum, but can only do so much when accompanied by an idiotic Pinto, someone the kids on Twitter would call a hater. Kaul, a solid actor, plays Albert Pinto as a man trying to stage a nervous breakdown. His fury feels theatrical and monologue-y, more bipolar than righteous. He seems entirely at odds with Das’ description of him: “Enemy?” she literally laughs at a policeman’s suggestion that someone could be targeting Pinto. “Why, he even makes friends out of strangers!”
Das, best when dealing with meaty, layered characters, seems ill-at-ease in insubstantial roles. Here she has multiple flimsy, cheerful parts, as Pinto sees her in place of every woman he meets. This fancy-dress conceit isn’t carried through: At a liquor store, surrounded by skimpy pinups of vodka-hawking blondes, a haunted Pinto pictures them as Das — but also instantly imagines them in salwar-kameezes.
The plot involves Pinto both missing and on the hunt, while Ranade derivatively pays tribute to movies he loves. There is much affectation, from an overdone background score — jazz plays in the room of a truck-stop prostitute — to the sources of Pinto’s anger. He rages not only at the idea of one’s mother being sold on TV, but at the sale happening live. This bit infuriates him most, as if post-production would make it okay.
What makes Albert Pinto angry? The reasons are manifold, but this amateurishness in his name can’t help. Using that loaded gun of a title for such a limp film is like using it to win a round of dumb-charades.
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