Plagiarism well done, thanks to Woody Allen!
Last year when I saw and liked Anurag Basu’s Metro, the part appreciated most was Sarmaan’s hilarious call-centre segment where everyone was screwing everyone. Later a month or so I rented Billy Wilder’s classic The Apartment and shocked to discover particular segment in Metro was lifted from this entire movie. Yes, I was disappointed. I couldn’t enjoy a virgin Wilder classic experience but there was a grin on my face definitely how director didn’t ruined the borrowed material and did the justice to piece of plagiarism, if there is any such thing exists. Similar experience to greater extent I had last weekend with DilKabaddi which I thoroughly enjoyed, is a straight rip-off of Woody Allen’s outstanding Husbands and Wives (1992). But this time there was a strange sense of familiarity with the characters instantly. Their idiosyncrasies somehow carried a floating signature.
In Woody Allen’s favorite territory- man-woman relationship, which he explored over three to four decades. This one is a comedy of marriages, divorces, break-ups, reconciliations and re-marriages in the wake of characters’ mid life crisis and their inherent urge for infidelity. Film introduces its two principal couples setting the mad-com tone of the film. Sameet (Irrfan) and Meeta (Soha) announces they are separating in the house of their best friends Rishi (Rahul Bose) and Simmi (Konkana Sen Sharma). Second couple is rattled; especially Simmi (soon starts questioning her own relationship). They start to reason why their friends are separating. Simmi asks if Meeta is cold in bed. Rishi reasons yeah as she is too “intellectual” types. Later in one scene Sameet confesses Meeta is too arty and he’s tired of watching art movies. With his newly found partner he can watch Welcome without guilt. (Hilarious).
Separation follows Meeta start dating Simmi’s colleague Rahul Khanna while Sameet packs his bags and moves in with his gym instructor (Payal) for a bawdy romance full of kinky thrills. Story then probes lives of second couple which turns out more interesting that it seems. Rishi is a literary college professor who regards most of his colleagues as womanizers but for him it’s too hard to cross the line now but soon is pulled with infatuating force in the direction of one of his young pupils Raga (well cast). On other hand Simmi is more dangerous types as described by her ex-boyfriend “passive-aggressive types”. Tagging her husband as “too critical” she shares her poems silently nourishing hidden feelings to her sensitive and perfect-husband-material colleague Rahul Khanna. No one is innocent in this world.
Characters learn a lot in the course of their infidelity and desires. Sameet who feels his wife gives him stress all the time realizes, only after basking in bed one too many days and nights of course, that there is no way they can appear socially together (one laugh out loud sequence in a party continued to his house), wants to reconcile. He believes now, “Sex for the sake of sex is a disease. Saathi sathi hota hai”. In another one oddly touching scene one character shares a passionate kiss with his long time crush in a perfect romantic setting but confesses he can’t go on doing it. Walking in rain, he confides in us he just wants to go back home and hold his wife.
Almost filming scene to scene faithfully director makes material more comic and less cynical but keeps the playfulness same in the treatment. Characters talk directly into the camera. Interviews acts on behalf of audiences asking right questions. Actors are doing well here especially Irrfan who plays parody of cheating husbands with such flamboyance and such ridiculous colors; it is sheer brilliance of the actor.
I was the sole soul in my flock to enjoy this desi version of Woody Allen. This is one is about marriages. Even if you are not married you can enjoy it. Like one of the characters says she wrote an article once on Paris and she’s never been Paris, you don’t have to, she says, “it’s a trick”.
* Bad **Average *** Good ****Very Good ***** Outstanding