Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Pooja Salvi
Direction: Rohan Sippy
While walking in for ‘Nautanki Saala’ I was wondering what was Rohan Sippy’s claim to fame; ‘Bluffmaster’ is the only movie on his filmography that had some recall value. The film essentially worked because the film’s male leads (Abhishek Bachchan and Riteish Deshmukh) shared awesome comic timing. Unfortunately, Ayushmann Khurrana and Kunaal Roy Kapur have no such chemistry in ‘Nautanki Saala’.
Mandar Lele (Kunaal Roy Kapur) is a bumbling idiot - abandoned by the love of his life, declared a ‘loser’ by his doting grandmother with nothing more than a few failed suicide attempts to boast of. The thing is even to play a successful dimwit, you need some kind of character – imagine Govinda in ‘Partner’. Kunal Roy Kapur is regrettably inept at playing this role with either style or zest.
Ram Parmar aka RP (Ayushmann Khurrana), the protagonist is a compulsive do-gooder who is the director and the main lead in the play ‘Raavan Leela’. Except the scene in which Mandar on RP’s insistence is auditioning for Ram’s role (in Raavan Leela), every time I see the onstage drama and the playacting, I think of the squandered opportunity. There was so much potential in these scenes, some witty writing could have completely turned around the narrative and made it a laughter riot. I cannot help but think of the Mahabharata scene from ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’, which 30 years later, still continues to have the audience in splits even on repeated viewing.
The romantic track is the weakest in the film and an overdose of emotional drama just saps the fun out of the story. Also, the female leads are really disappointing and it’s just difficult to comprehend why someone as sorted and good-looking as Ayushmann would fall for either of them. Ayushmann however, puts his heart and soul into this totally average film and makes it watchable.
It’s a simple story, where our hero tries his best to resolve not only the crisis in his half-witted friend’s life but also give him new purpose and objective. But as usual love plays spoilsport jeopardizing their friendship. However, in Bollywood, love always finds a way to triumph and set everything right. I just hope that the ride would have been more enjoyable.
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