In my review of Anari (1959), I had asserted that Bollywood’s greatest showman, Raj Kapoor was most liked by the Indian audience in the role of the golden-hearted simpleton. Anari, Jaagte Raho, Teesri Kasam, Shree 420, Kanhaiya, Chhaliya, Diwana; the list movies featuring him as a simpleton is quite long. And he conquered the hearts of the audience for good through them. Still these movies are considered as gold-plated, diamond-studded gems from the treasure of Bollywood cinema.
Times have changed. Now neither such quality movies are made in Bollywood, nor we have any Raj Kapoor with us. However, a few years back, one actor arrived on the scene of Indian cinema who is not only a versatile actor but also a perfect fit for the role of a clean-hearted, innocent simpleton. And he is Vinay Pathak. Vinay Pathak has, in fact, re-written some acting lessons through his natural and heart-winning performances.
In 2007, director Sagar Ballari presented a movie – Bheja Fry featuring Vinay Pathak in the lead role of Mr. Bharat Bhushan, the straightforward (and fortunately for the income-tax payers, non-corrupt) income-tax inspector who’s an amateur singer in his personal life and very fond of music. The story which mainly consisted of the witty and laughter-provoking interaction between Bharat Bhushan and the owner of a music company, Ranjeet Thadani (Rajat Kapoor) was a rip off from a french movie – Le Diner De Cons (1998) which means ‘the dinner game’. The amusing story which contained less laughs more tickling, was applauded a lot with Vinay Pathak effortlessly winning the hearts of the audience.
Inspired by the success and admiration received by Bheja Fry (2007), Mr. Ballari decided to make its sequel and it has come before the audience in the form of Bheja Fry 2 (2011). In this movie, Mr. Ballari, for a change, has not lifted the story from anywhere and used an original script instead. The novelty is that the movie has been shot on a cruise in the first half and on a desolate island in the second. And the change is that except Vinay Pathak, i.e., Mr. Bharat Bhushan, the hero; none of the characters of the prequel has been repeated in the sequel.
Actually, both the prequel and the sequel seem to be based on the concept of the collateral with two main characters of the story trying to outwit each other (or being helpful to each other). In the prequel, the clean-hearted income-tax inspector and music lover Bharat Bhushan was up against the oversmart music company owner – Ranjeet Thadani whereas in the sequel, he is crossing path with a cunning, tax-evading, womanizing and high-handed businessman – Ajeet Talwar (Kay Kay Menon). As a prize of winning the Aao Guess Karen contest hosted by a TV channel, he gets a paid holiday trip on a cruise and there he stumbles upon Ajeet Talwar who is already scared of the income-tax officials. In his bid to get rid of Bharat Bhushan by throwing him in the sea, he himself also falls into it alongwith Bharat Bhushan and both these gentlemen reach a desolated island to further interact and try to tickle the funny bone of the viewer. There comes a different track of Raghu Burman (Amol Gupte) too who listens to old songs on his antic radio and keeps on missing his separated sweetheart – Mahua. Bharat Bhushan stumbles upon his uncle (Virendra Saxena) too who has arrived the island to enjoy with a girl (being infidel to Bharat Bhushan’s aunt). And the movie goes on aimlessly to fill its time-duration.The problem with Bheja Fry 2 is only that since the script has not been stolen from somewhere (like its prequel), it lacks a definite storyline which is the deficiency of the script-writer. The complete track of Raghu Burman is unnecessary and only adds to the length of the movie. The characters of the romantic interest of the hero in the form of Ranjini (Minissha Lamba) and his senior I.T. officer Shekharan (Suresh Menon) are not that impressive and they only slacken the pace of the movie and its grip on the viewers. Ditto is for the character of Bharat Bhushan’s uncle.
However I have read several reviews of this movie, trying to prove as if the prequel was a masterpiece and the sequel, in comparison to that, is a disaster which is untrue. Neither the prequel was great, nor the sequel is a disaster. It’s not at all a disappointment for the die-hard fans of Vinay Pathak who has infused life into the story (if we deem that some story is actually there) of the movie with his innocent mannerisms and he has been ably supported by Kay Kay Menon who is definitely an actor par excellence. The first half is thoroughly gripping and despite the dragging, the second half is also enjoyable at least for a few reels. Had the director reduced the time duration of the movie to around 100 minutes only by removing unnecessary tracks and characters, that shortened movie would have been a better one. It is entertaining, all the same.Technical aspects, except editing, are ok. Background score is also ok. Songs are unnecessary and could have been done away with. It is more or less the show of the collaterals, i.e., Vinay Pathak and Kay Kay Menon who are just outstanding. The supporting actors have done well but there was nothing much to do for them. Characters like Rahul Singh, Rukhsaar and Aditi Govitrikar are no better than junior artists. And that again is the weakness of the director who failed in doing justice to many characters.
Still I recommend this movie to not only the fans of Vinay Pathak but also to the viewers who fall into the the category of the audience of clean-comedies. This neat and clean and overall entertaining comedy is manifold better than the crap made by David Dhawan or Anees Bazmee in the name of comedy as well as many overhyped movies of Priyadarshan.
Simpletons win hearts because they are themselves pure-hearted, getting deceived and mocked by others due to being trusting ones but neither deceiving anybody, nor humiliating anybody and never denying to help any needy person. The director has been able to underscore this fact emphatically in this movie through the character of Vinay Pathak. Kay Kay Menon’s apologizing to Vinay Pathak in the climax and his forgiving him and praising him demonstrates what a golden-hearted simpleton is like. So, watch this movie and allow your heart to be conquered by the perennial innocent fool – not Raj Kapoor but Vinay Pathak.
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