My Friend Pinto, Kalki Koechlin

<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>

Directed by Raaghav Dar. Starring Prateik, Kalki Koechlin, Arjun Mathur.

My first Hindi review for Minority Review (Tushar Amin handles them usually, but I happened to watch this film, so hey, I’ll give it a shot). I must say that unlike some other ‘critics’ I can’t use words like ‘visceral’ for Prateik or anything related to this film. It has its moments of charm in a very weird kitschy sort of way but on the whole it is a complete mess, without direction, plot, acting, or any form of cohesion.

Sam’s (Arjun Mathur) naive and childlike friend Michael Pinto (Prateik) has just lost his parents and his caretaker Father Simon sends Pinto to stay with old friend Sam who hasn’t bothered keeping in touch with him. Sam’s has moved on with his life and his wife Suhani (Shruthi Seth) hates Pinto. Nevertheless, the hapless Sam agrees to have Pinto stay with them. Sam and wife go out on New Year’s Eve leaving Pinto behind. And his Mr Bean-type adventure begins through the streets of Mumbai making friend with Dons, saving helpless puppies and dancing on the rooftop with a strange girl called Maggie (Kalki Koechlin).

Shot mainly in the night, and in secluded areas like Horniman Circle and Fort (Mumbai), the film flip flops between Pinto’s encounters with all sorts of riff raff, Sam and his wife stuck in a traffic jam bickering about Pinto and their marriage, and a plot by a gang to kidnap a kid, kill the Don and well, I didn’t quite follow some of the other sub plots.

The one iota of promise was perhaps the love story between Pinto and Maggie; Prateik and Kalki look exceedingly cute together but alas, they seem to have forgotten that whole storyline in the hotchpotch that is My Friend Pinto.

Makrand Deshpande as the Don is quite good. His Southy accent and comic one-liners give you a bit of chuckle but the rest of the antics are too slapstick and amateurish to be fun. Prateik does his monotone, childlike voice perfectly, giving us an innocent almost mentally challenged character who clutches on to a bag throughout the movie and talks about his Mama’s (mother not uncle) philosophies of life. Why he clutches the bag is never really explained.

Just like Jo Dooba So Paar, this is yet another film that wastes some perfectly talented actors in a cheap, directionless farce.



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