Directed by Praveen Kumar. Starring Anand Tiwari, Vinay Pathak, Sita Ragione Spada, Rajat Kapoor, Sadia Siddiqui, Pitobash Tripathy.
Jo Dooba So Paar swings between over-the-top theatrics and faux small-town-realism, in an attempt to tell a different love story.
A decade ago, it would have been very difficult for a newcomer director to make a small budget film that had no known stars. Even if such a film were made, it would have been next to impossible for it to find a respectable release in Bollywood. Thankfully, times have changed. In the past ten years, Bollywood has evolved into a buzzing melting pot of voices and narratives. Thanks to demands from the multiplex-economy and the bouquet approach of corporate production houses, aspiring filmmakers have a shot at getting their films made. More importantly, the market itself has evolved. There is a niche audience for every kind of film. This in turn, has led to thousands of hopefuls dreaming of making their film. The platform called Bollywood has opened up but the competition to get on that platform too has intensified manifold.
Given this scenario, it is frustrating to see a debutant director squander away his chance with a hotchpotch attempt like Jo Dooba So Paar. And this mediocrity can only be attributed to complacence and/or laziness. The sincerity of intentions (of telling a different love story of a small-town school dropout falling for an Italian-American art research student) is not in doubt. Unfortunately, sincerity does not make up for laziness. It is once the producers and actors have agreed to back a story that the job of a small budget filmmaker really begins. The job of translating that story into an engaging screenplay. And that is where the makers of Jo Dooba So Paar seem to have lost track. The writing of this film lacks focus and cohesiveness implying that the director and writers have been too lazy to think the film through before hitting the shooting floor.
Among the performances, Anand Tiwari makes a confident debut. Dadhi Pandey leaves an impression as the hassled father and Sita Ragione Spada makes a sincere effort to fit in. The supporting cast oscillates between over the top theatrics (Pitobash Tripathy) and pretentious realism (Vinay Pathak adjusting a wedgy). The only redeeming aspect of this film is its art direction.
Many of us delight in the rise of small budget independent films with different stories to tell. But it is films like Jo Dooba So Paar that highlight the other side of this development. An opportunity presented to a new filmmaker to make a film is also a responsibility handed over to him to make a difference. Unfortunately, many debutant filmmakers simply do not realise how lucky they are. And how irresponsible they are when they dish out something so pedestrian and tacky. Who is to blame for mindless trash becoming Rs. 100-crore-plus grossers, if those given an opportunity to make a difference churn out such half-assed, half-hearted, half-baked films?
<Tushar A Amin is the author of Bollywood Themes and former editor of FHM India. Follow Tushar on twitter: @tusharaamin>