Brij Mohan Amar Rahe movie review: Netflix’s latest Indian original is their worst
Brij Mohan Amar Rahe
Director - Nikhil Bhat
Cast - Arjun Mathur, Nidhi Singh, Sheetal Thakur
Rating - 1/5
One department in which most bad movies display unrelenting laziness is how they depict cities. Spike Lee’s New York movies will make you feel the sweat of the streets, but a bad one will yell ‘Fuggetaboutit’ at your face. Guy Ritchie’s London movies will evoke the damp anger of the British capital, while the worst ones will hire an American to do a bad Cockney accent. Similarly, the new Netflix original film, Brij Mohan Amar Rahe, believes the essence of New Delhi is saying the word ‘bh*****d’ a million times, and then educating the viewer as to why the word is such a vital part of Delhi vocabulary.
It’s not often that we get to discuss a film’s poor depiction of New Delhi - usually, it’s Mumbai that must bear the burden of stereotypes. It must constantly remind everyone that it’s populated by people other than just bhais and mamus and taporis and Patel log.
Watch the Brij Mohan Amar Rahe trailer here
Very few movies get Delhi right, perhaps because very few people from Delhi are making those movies. Recently, only films such as Titli, Gurgaon (close enough), Vicky Donor, BA Pass and, the greatest of them all, Khosla Ka Ghosla have truly understood the wicked passion of this city.
And as a lifelong Delhiite, I can assure you that Brij Mohan Amar Rahe’s idea of the capital is just as misguided as the rest of the film. For example, no one says ‘paaji’ at the end of every sentence, and even if they did, they’d be extremely conscious of whom they were addressing as such. But Brij Mohan doesn’t know this, because despite operating a ‘bra shop’ in what appears to be Fatehpuri, he makes the rookie mistake of calling everyone, and I mean everyone - from bank employees to loan sharks to fellow underwear salesmen - ‘paaji’.
The reason his path crosses with such a wide lineup of characters is because Brij Mohan is in over his head. His business isn’t going anywhere, his wife is obsessed with losing weight (and forgetting that she’s supposed to be doing a Sarojini accent that the actor probably learnt from one of those iDiva videos), he’s in debt, and he can’t really handle his very young girlfriend. So to escape his problems and his life, he changes his appearance, pretends he’s dead, and takes on the identity of another dead man.
But Brij Mohan soon learns that one can’t simply run away from one’s difficulties, and he’s caught in a web of his own lies.
In fairness, Brij Mohan Amar Rahe aims for a tone that has stumped the best of them. It begins as a crime-comedy, turns into a satire and finishes as a farce. That’s a delicate high wire to tread, and Brij Mohan Amar Rahe tumbles to its demise basically five minutes into the film. Not every movie can achieve the lightning-in-a-bottle quality of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, perhaps the greatest of all satires about common Indian men being overwhelmed by their country and its people.
But beyond being a poorly written and very confusingly acted film - every performance, for some reason, is childishly loud, as if delivered by five-year-olds made to look like adults - Brij Mohan (for no fault of its own really) impacts the Netflix brand. So far, their Indian lineup has been rather impressive - Brahman Naman, Love Per Square Foot, Lust Stories and Sacred Games were all enjoyable in their own way. This one isn’t.