<Review by: Juthika Nagpal>
Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. Starring Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma, Pankaj Kapur, Shabana Azmi, Arya Babbar
In an attempt to create a film full of unexpected cheekiness, political satire and black humour, the makers of this one have simply gotten it all muddled into one big unfortunate mess.
The movie starts off with a failed attempt at being funny… taking us through an entire first half of almost unintelligible drunken Haryanvi of the Mandola village landowner, Mr. Harry Mandola (Pankaj Kapur) and some very corny, misplaced musical sequences. The story goes through the motions introducing us to a seemingly simple plot with a comfortable friendship between the Mandola daughter, Bijlee (Anushka Sharma) and her father’s Man-Friday, Matru (Imran Khan). Here the film drags on and on, interspaced with some masala in the form of Bijli’s fiancé Baadal (Arya Babbar) and his politico mother Chaudhari Devi (Shabana Azmi).
At the interval I was ready to leave, but then in a good ol’ save, the plot picks up into a politically charged drama dealing with the issue of SEZ zones built on spuriously acquired agricultural land. Here we finally see the seasoned actors shine out with their expected potential, and we realise that we were tricked all along – the film was never intended to be a mindless comedy.
Sadly, the impact doesn’t last, as the loosely connected story to begin with can’t seem to quite wrap itself up with the classiness that was intended. It leaves us a little worn out from looking out for the numerous times that the humour was missed or the satire was not quite there yet.
The acting in itself was quite enjoyable, with Imran Khan taking his role into form and Pankaj Kapur and Shabana Azmi effortlessly holding the film in place, somewhat. Anushka Sharma seems to be overdoing the bubbly-daredevil role, almost identical to how she came across in Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
The highlight of the film was of course its mascot – the lovely strawberry pink buffalo that made me laugh each time it made an appearance!