Coming soon: Tevar

Review - Toh Baat Pakki: No promises kept

Toh Baat Pakki

quick review:

A wannabe-Hrishikesh Mukherjee film. It’s one of those simple one-line plots that if told well could be both entertaining and insightful. But, this is neither, mainly because its loud and tries too hard to keep it light.

[Poster for Toh Baat Pakki]

Almost each one of us who was/is of the "marriageable" age has encountered at least one well-meaning distant relative who thinks we are the most eligible. The one who takes it upon themselves to find you the perfect life-partner. Well, To Baat Pakki is about one such lady, Rajeshwari (Tabu). No, she's not the eligible one, she's the dreaded relative. Her existence seems to revolve around finding the perfect groom for her little sister. There's lots of room for comedy, but only a tinee-winee bit is explored.

The rating of course, clearly that there isn't much to look forward to in To Baat Pakki but the main character, Rajeshwari fascinated me. Of course, she is the standard, ultra-involved, annoying meddler. But, she is still the older sister. So, though it's never too obviously stated, you see a very heavy tinge of gray in her character. She wants for her sister what she could never get. She wants to live vicariously through her. Maybe, that's what most of those distant relatives mean to do using us, and that is exactly what makes them uber-irritating.

And despite this interesting character, who you keep suspecting will turn the tables, the movie is pretty flat. The other characters barely arouse interest. And these were the exact characteristics of a Hrishikesh Mukherjee film. Common man, with common aspirations. A non-trivial social issue portrayed in a light manner. But somehow, everything in To Baat Pakki looks like a failed attempt.

Except for a couple of the performances. Tabu must be one of the very few women who can pull of comic timing elegantly. She seems just perfect in the role. Interestingly, though age has taken its toll with the lady and she isn't half as engaging to look at as she used to be, this seems to have worked to the character's advantage.

However, this is very little to carry the film through its entire length. It gets slapsticky in some parts, tardy in others. The light moments once in a while manage a half-smile out of you despite some decent performances.

Other than that, the background music is extremely loud, irrelevant and thus distracting. The song and dance sequences follow the patterns of those followed in the 90s but with some decent camerawork to grab your attention. The songs themselves are…well, I don't remember. So, there you go.

Toh Baat Pakki looks at an intriguing aspect of our social lives. But does it so flatly and yet with general ado, that it's more or less a painful watch. So, skip this one, there will be more Fridays and ensuing weekends that will have a movie worth the time.

- meetu, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None, except skimpily clad women in dream sequences.
  • Concept: That materialism has no meaning when you are in love?
  • General Look and Feel: It is light and mildly peppy.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 1
  • Story: 2
  • Lead Actors: 2.5
  • Character Artists: 1.5
  • Dialogues: 2
  • Screenplay: 1
  • Music Director: 1
  • Lyrics: 2

Toh Baat Pakki - Movie Details

Toh Baat Pakki - Trailer

Comments (10)

Hindi Radio:

I dont know what inspires directors to make this kind of movies? what a waste of time and money!

Term LIfe Quotes:

I am 34, and dread going to weddings because I will encounter people who are still asking if I am single nonstop! I will have to see this movie! :)

TimELiebe:

I nodded off a few times watching this movie this past Sunday with my wife and a couple friends. Our usual All-American Sunday Night Bollywood Movie Group was pared down to a handful, thanks to a sore throat going around and a few of our number trying to make it back home before "Frankenstorm!" hits the US Northeast.

While some of the slapstick was at least fitfully amusing and a few of the performances were quite good, overall I had to look at IMDB several times to ensure myself this was made in 2010, and not 1950. Is this the kind of movie DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE was made in reaction to - rather, as an actually entertaining version of?

I have to confess we'd never seen a movie with Tabu acting before this (she was in the big dance number in OM SHANTI OM), but it's clear she has major star quality. So what on Earth is she doing playing the pushy wife in what amounts to a not very funny sitcom? I'll admit she gives the character what little shading she has, but it's like watching Jane Fonda in MONSTER-IN-LAW or Barbra Streisand in ALL NIGHT LONG - she's so overqualified, she knocks the entire movie out of alignment (the actress playing the snippy thieving neighbor Mrs. Rai might have been more appropriately cast).

Both Sharman Joshi (who I remember from RANG DE BASANTI) and Yuvika Chaudhary (who I don't remember before this) have promise - too bad they're not in a better romantic comedy than this. There's never any question about which man she truly loves - but it's all kind of television comedy level desire, isn't it? I realize not every actress can be Kajol in DDLJ (whose desire for her man threatened to lay waste to the entire Punjab if unquenched!), but even she had a script that let her smoulder and burn rather than moping about - as you pointed out in your review.

You're also right about the musical numbers - I think AMERICAN IDOL has better songs and dances than this movie did.

meetu:

I'm really curious how you ended up watching this one @TimELiebe! There are tons of Hindi films to be watched and you watched 'Toh Baat Pakki'. How?

Also, hope all is safe at your end.

TimELiebe:

@Meetu - I think this was our third choice, actually. We'd already had one disc refuse to play, and the second was that one with Akshay Kumar as an inept sort-of crooked builder from a family of very crooked builders - which we gave up on in disgust about a half-hour in. (When my wife, who has a huge crush on Akshay Kumar, turns down one of his movies, you know it's bad!)

This one was - inoffensive enough to the rest of the room, so.... And yes, Tabu really is incredible - why isn't she in better recent movies than this?

EDITED TO ADD: Never mind, I see you highly recommend her and Amitabh Bachchan in CHEENI KUM - just bought it on DVD from Amazon!

Also got THE NAMESAKE from Netflix - co-starring Kal "Kumar" Penn, no less.

meetu:

@TimELiebe Aha! So have you gotten around to watching any of them?

TimELiebe:

Just saw CHEENI KUM, @Meetu - and you were right. It's not gut-busting funny or steamy erotic, but it's very intelligently written and Tabu and Amitabh Bachchan are great together as a pair of smart-mouthed, set-in-their-ways people who sort of drift into being in love with each other in a very comforting, wisecracking way. It's a movie I could easily see married couples loving - we certainly did. :)

meetu:

@TimELiebe It's a shame that Tabu does films like "Toh Baat Pakki", then, isn't it?

TimELiebe:

Oh, VERY much a shame, @Meetu! It would almost be better if TOH BAAT BAKKI had been bloody awful rather than just - blah.

PS: I'm still not getting follow-up comments in my e-mail, and nothing's showing up in my Spam filter.... :/

meetu:

@TimELiebe looking into the e-mail matter. Sorry about that. Hope it'll get fixed soon.

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