<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Ajay Bhuyan. Starring Virr Das, Kavi Shastri, Vega Tamotia, Anindita Nayar, Natasha Rastogi
A film that’s been waiting for release for the last two years, Amit Sahni Ki List doesn’t look dated and is actually quite enjoyable.
With Bollywood films nowadays you’ve begun to expect one of two possibilities: either it’s a slapstick, vulgar farce or its an arty film with no big name stars that strives to be different and sometimes gets audience appreciation. Like the movie Filmistaan. But there’s no regular, witty, charming romantic comedy that you can rely on to give you a laugh and touch your heart. You know, like the kind Jennifer Aniston acts in.
Virr (that’s how they spell it for the film) Das is no Jennifer Aniston but what he lacks in beauty and luscious hair he more than makes up for with his excellent performing skills and witty lines. I may not have had many expectations for Amit Sahni Ki List but I knew with Virr Das in it, it wouldn’t be half bad.
Sure the film starts off with an ‘item number’ but immediately after that there’s some self-deprecating humour that eludes to the fact that if you have an item number you might as well get it done with. We’re then introduced to Amit Sahni (Virr Das) who is a successful investment banker who has it all, except for the ‘perfect, list-waali girl’. His best friend Push-kar (Kavi Shastri) is his sounding board and the scenes between them are pretty hilarious.
Amit goes through a string of dates, and he narrates to you his misadventures both as a voiceover and as in-movie aside dialogue. What I liked was that it wasn’t slapstick or over the top. It’s all very relatable.
When Amit does find a girl who’s less than ‘perfect’ in the form of Mala (Vega Tamotia) he falls for her even though she’s his polar opposite. Director Ajay Bhuyan uses a technique that I’m not too fond of: the montage sequence, to set up the burgeoning romance. But unlike other Hindi films, this one gets the montages just right thanks to some nifty editing.
The conflict in the film comes as the lovely distraction Devika (Anindita Nayar) who is actually very similar to Amit and meets his list of requirements. So he must choose.
The interplay between the sexes and the way roles are sometimes reversed (like in a wonderful scene where Amit has to pretend to be overly emotional and irritated to elicit a heated argument with Devika) imaginatively showcases how the sexes often get entangled in relationships that get complicated.
Kavi Shastri, as someone in the audience I watched the film with said, has acted very well. And even though Anindita Nayar’s Devika comes across at times as stiff and lacking emotion it is in part due to the script, which needs her to be the ice queen who melts, just a bit but not enough to shatter her ‘perfection’. She has done a good job of playing her part even though there’s not enough set up in establishing her and Amit’s ‘perfect’ relationship.
Vega Tamotia is gentle and endearing in her role. The little doggie Noni deserves a mention too with all of his cutesy thought bubbles that thankfully don’t get too irritating. As Amit’s ultra cool mom, Natasha Rastogi makes you smile with her use of ‘BTW’ and ‘dude’ while talking to her son who is still mama’s boy.
Amit Sahni Ki List is the type of film that should be the norm and not our vulgar comedies. It’s real, genuine, funny, well written and directed. Go watch it.