Saturday, October 29, 2011
#227: Pyar Ka Punchnama
Pyar Ka Punchnama set the industry abuzz when earlier this year they continued to play in screens much longer that the so-called big-budget movies. At one time, I remember it had a couple of shows in Mumbai, even in its fifth week of release. If anything, it was yet another of those flickering hopes that despite no star appeal, a good movie's word-of-mouth publicity will ensure a successful run. To that, we can raise a toast because not every low-budget-no-frills movie meets the same fate.
PKP is written and directed by debutant Luv Ranjan and is a movie about three friends whose lives are turned upside down because of their girlfriends. Movies with multiple leads require sharp and precise characterization and Ranjan almost delivers with the sketches of his six key characters. Standing out among them all is Divyendu Sharma who plays the role of Liquid, a spectacled geek at work who has fallen for his co-worker Charu (Ishita Sharma). Divyendu is a show-stealer with his quick and mostly expletive-ridden wit while Ishita portrays the selfish Charu fairly well. Nishant's other friends Vikrant (Rayo Bakhirta) and Rajat (Kartik Tiwari) are at similar life-changing turns with respect to their personal lives and while Vikrant is the calmest of the three, Rajat is the simpleton who can only dance to the tunes of his girlfriend Neha (Nushrat Bharucha). In a funny monologue, Rajat encapsulates all that is wrong in relationships because of his experience of living-in with Neha. It is a long but an amusing piece of dialgoue and Ranjan's writing skills do come to the fore with this particular piece.
The movie had eight songs that slowed down the pace whenever things were getting interesting. One could relate to the three characters and in many ways the film unfolds as a middle-class man's Dil Chahta Hain. What's nice to note is that it is not a pale imitation particularly the male bonding part that has its own identity. The film had me hooked for the first thirty minutes with the jokes flying thick and fast but once the relationship angle got involved, it lost its charm. And with due respect to the work put in by the newcomers, one can't help but sense that with more experienced actors, the film would've emerged even better. Having said that, there's no doubt that there was enough promise in every scene both from a technical and a performance point of view in the movie.
There has got to some common sense involved when a new director makes a movie with 6 newcomers. My first instinct will be to think that 6 newcomers will probably not have enough spunk to last the standard Hindi film duration of 150 minutes. I would hence be wont to restrict the duration of such a movie to 120 odd minutes perhaps. But Pyar Ka Punchnama, a male bonding rom-com that begins as a breezy watch pays no heed to such logical nuances and extends to a hefty 149 minutes. That in retrospect is sad, because if it was shorter by 30 minutes, PKP would've been a good fun watch. In it's current form, it does provide the laughs but only is just about worth a watch.