Nautanki Saala! - Review
Nautanki Saala! Makes you want to believe that lovely performances by two lead characters, witty dialogue and a philosophical concept delivered with humor would be enough to make a film rise above the ordinary. Unfortunately it is matched by plastic/caricaturish performances by the rest of the cast, some slapsticky humor and a run down south towards a typical climax.
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Ram vs. Raavan is a simple enough good vs. evil fight. Unless the struggle is between the Ram and Raavan in you. Nautanki Saala has this very intriguing conflict set at its heart - the one within. Remarkably enough, it also manages, to a great extent, to keep things light with quippy dialogue. Unfortunately though, it slacks off more often than not, the story loses its way and that kind of intrigue exists only in one of the characters.
The plot starts out with a man of today called Ram (Ayushman Khurana), who is too good to be true, saving a stranger's life. Interestingly enough he plays Raavan in a stage show that he directs too. The quirky treatment to an outlandish start gives the film a dream-like ambiance. But it is pretty amazing how the atmosphere created doesn't let the implausibility of it all bother you. However, that lasts only for the first hour or so.
The turn of events in the second half take Nautanki Saala into the regular girl-boy zone. Except for glimpses of the protagonist's struggle with himself, the situations become pretty ordinary. Not to mention, other than Ram and Mandar (Kunal Roy Kapoor), the other characters are lame from the outset. Especially the women.
While Chitra (Gaelyn Mendonca) is refreshingly understanding her maturity isn't consistent. The other lady, Nandini (Pooja Salvi) is dumb and dumber both. That more than one man would fall in love with her, is extremely unconvincing. Also, neither Chitra nor Pooja are helped by the performances. Both Gaelyn and Pooja are plastic dolls given trendy styles to wear.
The men however, do a magnificent job of keeping you engaged with their performances. Kunal Roy Kapoor's Mandar is eternally depressed and yet, quirkily funny evoking the side in you that enjoys dark humor. A few characters break into a regional language which seems both unnatural as a part of the film and is superficially delivered by the actors.
Ayushman Khurana wins you over once again with a charming performance. He plays both Ram and the part of him trying to keep his internal Raavan at bay, with equal conviction. All this while making it look natural and effortless. Expect to be blown over by the way he kisses his girl - one of the most natural, comfortable and convincing on-screen kisses I have seen in Hindi cinema.
It's pretty much these two and the witty dialogue that keeps you going for the 2+ hours of the film. It slows down considerably, picking pace very unevenly, and once in a longish while. The quirks are enjoyable, but there is enough slapstick humor, in the form of sexual and toilet humor and the usual slapping around and falling people, attempting to make you laugh. The ambiance created by the colors, lighting and music too is very slick and helps to keep the dragging parts alive.
Yet, with the given premise, it's sad that the narrative didn't take itself beyond the obvious Ramayan references. The hat tip towards how each one of us wears a mask and churns out a life full of drama for ourselves is subtle and enjoyable. But, that it all boils down to a very ordinary romance takes all that away from Nautanki Saala!
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: None, except a guy trying to kill himself in the beginning.
- Language: A few abusive words.
- Nudity & Sexual content: Two long liplocks.
- Concept: That we all have more than one side to our personality.
- General Look and Feel: Slick.
Nautanki Saala! - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Facebook Twitter Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: T Series, Ramesh Sippy Entertainment, Super Cassettes Industries Ltd
- Producer: Roopa De Chaudhury, Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Ramesh Sippy
- Director: Rohan Sippy
- Lead Cast: Ayushman Khurana, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Pooja Salvi
- Supporting Cast: Gaelyn Mendonca, Evelyn Sharma, Sanjeev Bhatt, Rufy Khan, Sulabha Arya, Purva Naresh, Nipun Dharmadhikari, Sheela Das, Vishwajeet
- Screenplay: Nipun Dharmadhikari, Rohan Sippy, Charudutta Acharya
- Dialogues: Rohan Sippy, Charudutta Acharya, Nipun Dharmadhikari
- Cinematography: Manoj Lobo
- Editor: Aarif Shaikh
- Music Director: Mike McCleary
- Costume Designer: Priyanjali Lahiri
- Art Direction: Saini S Johray
- Facebook Page: Link
- Inspired by: Après Vous
- Running time: 130 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Comedy, Romance
Nautanki Saala! - Trailer
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