Release Date : 11th January, 2013
Time : 150 minutes
Director, Writer, Music : Vishal Bhardwaj;
Starring : Pankaj Kapur, Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma, Shabana Azmi, Arya Babbar
“Mummy ji, Mummy ji, aap ki bahu badi nikammi ji”
Pankaj Kapur is the life and soul of this film, delivering an acting masterclass and a riveting performance, that, combined with the overall sheer zaniness and its excellent, rustic dialogue, keeps you hooked and helps gloss over the wafer-thin plot and limited acting skills / suitability of Imran for the lead role
“Jab dil mein saand ho, to har ladki bhains nazar aati hai”
Whether in the opening sequence, while trying to cajole the Theke wala before ultimately driving his limo through his shed. Or trying to persuade the well to move out of his way. Or inciting a revolt amongst the farmers against himself, the man who knows how to make a plane take off but not land, who speaks flawless English when sober and thet Haryanvi when drunk on his favourite desi, Pankaj Kapur is the man with a vision.
“Aaj to ghani chokkhi lag rahi hai tu”
As he explains to his delicious (his words, not mine) partner in crime, Shabana, he finds the sight of agricultural fields boring. He would prefer smoke belching factories, a concrete jungle, cubby-hole apartments for workers, whom you pay salaries with one hand and set up glitzy malls to take it all away with another. Shabana, a minister bank rolled by Pankaj’s wealth is only too willing as an accomplice, even playing footsie with him during meetings with officials. And the marriage between her son, a superbly played idiot by Arya Babbar and Pankaj’s feisty daughter, Anushka should settle matters once and for all.
“Tu left wali le le. Aakhir tu Mao hai.”
The only impediment is Pankaj’s valet cum driver cum drinking parner, Imran. A leftist, rabble rousing, JNU educated (that explains everything, doesn’t it ?) villager, he wants to rally the remaining farmers to not give up their land, to continue to farm.
“Its not funny, yeah, Harry !”
Shabana’s dark, villainous turn, reminiscent of her evil-exuding role in Loins of Punjab Presents is excellent. Arya throws himself enthusiastically in his role of a well-meaning, slightly daft Mama’s boy. Anushka doesn’t have much to do apart from fetching apples from the bottom of the pond, sympathizing with the villagers and going around bit confused but she does it well. Imran wouldn't have been my choice for the lead role, despite his beard and beedi, he somehow doesnt look the part of a villager, that too a Haryanvi, not getting the walk or the swagger right, coming off a bit insipid especially when paired with someone as nuanced as Pankaj Kapur.
“Tujhe na, Meena Kumari complex hai”
There is a message here somewhere. Not that hard to get, nor a particularly new one where the rich, the powerful and the politicians combine to loot the common man who is soon left with no option but to succumb to the crumbs being offered to him. In any case, it’s a message told with flair, panache and a craziness involving more than a few pink buffaloes…