Cast: Shefali Shah, Rahul Bose, Sumit Raghavan
Directed by Barnali Ray Shukla
Rating: ** 1/2
Chance meetings in Hindi films have always seemed less accidental and too fantastic to even be possible. Like the prankster Raj meeting the docile Simran while she tries desperately to catch a moving train (Eurorail, no less) in DDLJ. But then if filmy love stories were believable and logical, would they be as much fun and exciting? May be, may be not.
Anyway, this one is about an underappreciated housewife, Madhu Saxena (Shefali Shah) whose relationship with her husband (Sumit Raghavan) has been reduced to a clinical one. Like most neglected housewives, she wants to break-free and feels that her life is drifting away aimlessly and that she couldn't be all the things she wanted to. Oddly, one can empathise with her simple sufferings, without actually being in her shoes. Perhaps, that is the power of a well-written character.
Luckily, all is not lost. Just as her husband forgets one of her birthdays (29th March- comes once in 4 years), she snaps like a dry twig and decides to realize all her dreams that were brushed aside to meet family commitments. A breezy montage follows as Madhu goes about living her fluffy fantasy that involves a makeover, a new dress, smoking cigarettes and a new car.
After about 10 screen minutes of self-pampering, she bumps into Raghav, a wanted conman pretending to be a detective. Madhu is instantly delighted and begs Raghav for a one-day internship, as it seems like an ideal last tick on her birthday list. He agrees and we're off on a lovely journey, as Madhu lights up the screen with her childlike-innocence and ignorance and even amusement at Raghav's uncouth ways.
You know that despite the odd chemistry and momentary affection that the two brew up, this platonic foreplay isn't going to lead to anything. She has a family, he has a dark past, present and a foggy future. But you're hopeful. And hope is the dope that keeps this film from blowing.
KLJ wins for its cuteness and Madhu's wide-eyed astonishment at almost everything that our sleuth-operator, Raghu, presents. But it is sad that the story had to confirm to universal appeal as it doesn't quite flesh out the possible (even though, inappropriate) relationship between the two. Packaged like an airy love story, this film had prospects of being a part-thriller too, but the angle is underplayed enough to be ignored.
Shefali's crash diet before shooting for this film has paid off as her flawless performance needed a stunning face to go with. Rahul Bose is appropriately grim and crass as his character needed to be. Sumit Raghavan's intermittent appearances give us a break from the actual story but don't drift us away from it.
The music of the film won't get Pritam an invite to any of the award functions but Mohit Chauhan won't lose any of his fans either. Debutant director, Barnali Ray Shukla, has managed to cleverly weave this story together, though she could've pushed the envelope a bit with respect to the possible relationship between the lead characters.
So if you're a flustered housewife or not, this almost-love story is just as unobjectionable as it is aspirational. So, go ahead and watch this movie by yourself and you just might find your special someone, hopefully without a police record if you're lucky.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on Facebook