I am a middle class salaried person, having two children (one son and one daughter), a wife having the typical middle-class mindset and a moderately furnished house. Till a few years back, I was riding a scooter only (still I ride that scooter only for most of the time). In 2007, upon shifting from Rawatbhata (Rajasthan) to Delhi, I bought a car (Maruti 800). So when I saw the promos of this movie which was released in 2010, I at once decided to watch it because I felt I would relate to it. And my prediction came true.
I have been a very big fan of Rishi-Neetu pair since long and I have watched almost all the movies which starred them opposite each other, right from Zehereela Insaan (1974) to Dhan Daulat (1980). Though Neetu Singh was seen in the last scene of Love Aaj Kal (2009) too as Rishi’s wife, this is her comeback movie in the real sense and the icing on the cake for her fans is that she has come once again as the heroine of her soulmate only. So, I found more than one reason to watch this movie and then I watched it.
Do Dooni Chaar (two twos are four) is the story of a typical middle class family living in a metro like Delhi whose head is not a permanent employee in a govt. office or a reputed company. He is a mathematics teacher (that’s why the name of the movie is a mathematical one) in a private school, getting moderate salary and he supplements it by doing tuitions. He rides an old Bajaj scooter and lives with his family (consisting of his wife, son and daughter) in a moderate single bedroom flat. Like almost all the middle class Indian families, they have to spend more than their capacity for the sake of pomposity, relationships and social prestige. Like several middle class children living in metro cities, their children also like to make girlfriend / boyfriend, visit Mc Donald for eating and make quick money for out of pocket expenses which their parents are not able to provide them. Like most of Indian middle class parents, they also want their children to study in reputed English medium educational institutions and become something big in their lives. For that sake, they control their own expenses but ensure that the children’s future is not adversely affected for want of money.
However this Do Dooni Chaar family has a family head with a difference from likewise family heads. Though like a typical middle class housewife, the wife wants her husband to earn some extra bucks even by compromising with his conscience, the head of the family has his own morals to cater to. They pay bribes to the corrupt Indian establishment under compulsion (like most middle class Indians have to) but they do not do anything likewise themselves. The first reason is conscience. However the bigger reason is fear of doing something bad (or unlawful, to be exact). However when they have to suffer humiliation upon using the neighbour’s car upon the special occasion of attending a marriage in close relation, the self-respect of the head of the family (the Duggal family) gets hurt to that much extent that he decides to buy his own car. Now what happens in making arrangement for down payment of the car which is not a small amount for a hand-to-mouth family in the capital city and how several allied things come to the fore, form the post interval part of the story.Let me assert one thing very frankly which I have felt in my own life that the Indian middle class morality has a uniqueness of its own. It more often than not, doesn’t stop the concerned person from doing a wrong thing in the first place, mostly it stops him from enjoying the fruit of that wrong thing done by him. This is the unique Indian guilt-complex. Several times, a person feels an inner urge to do something wrong to get something which he is not getting otherwise, but more than his conscience, his fear stops him from doing that and if done, his guilt-complex doesn’t allow him to enjoy the outcome.
Do Dooni Chaar is an excellent and very well made movie. While watching the movie I was feeling as if I were Rishi Kapoor, my wife were Neetu Singh and my children were their children. Everything shown and every character shown (especially the family members) are so realistic that even for a moment you do not feel that you are watching a fictional story of an imaginary family. And it is this realistic touch of simple middle class Indian life and simple middle class Indian characters that makes this movie a winner all the way. Whether it’s Rishi’s prohibiting his daughter from doing a call centre job or it’s his blaming himself for his son’s spoilage or it’s Neetu’s complaining to her husband for making her leave her job or it’s her fuming over the monthly income and expenditure budget of the family; everything is natural. It’s the typical Indian middle class family which barely manages to live a reasonable life but still dreams big. And still owning a car and owning a house are the biggest dreams of the typical Indian middle class people.
The movie also effectively underscores the nobility of the noble profession of teaching alongwith the fact that teachers (especially in the non-govt. sector schools) are the one of the least paid salaried people in India which is a major factor behind the poor educational standards in our country.
Rishi-Neetu are awsome in their performances with their off screen chemistry coming alive on the screen. But the actors (Archit Krishna and Aditi Vasudev who is the anchor also) playing their children have overtaken them by their brilliant performance. All others (including Akhilendra Mishra as their neighbour and the actress playing Phupho to be specially mentioned) have also done exceedingly well.
Music is not great except for the marriage song – Banni Hamaari Chaand Se Pyaari. The art director has done a splendid job by capturing the life in Delhi with utmost reality. In fact the whole Do Dooni Chaar team deserves a big hand alongwith the writer-director Habib Faisal. The only thing which may not appeal to the non-Delhites and non-Punjabis is the overdose of Punjabi language. But that’s not a big issue.
This movie reminiscing the Hrishikesh Mukherjee-Basu Chatterjee movies of the seventies and early eighties, was just like a gust of fresh and cool breeze in the cinematic environment suffocated by the so-called NRI movies. I recommend this light-mood family drama wholeheartedly and unconditionally to all the movie buffs.
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