Pritish Nandy Communications' MUMBAI MATINEE is akin to a ride on a Mumbai street ï¿½ at times smooth, at times bumpy.
Debu [Rahul Bose] is 32, employed in an advertising agency, but is beset with a strange problem. He is still a virgin.
Hope comes in the form of a gentleman who calls himself 'Baba Hindustani' [Vijay Raaz]. The Baba promises to cure Debu's virginity problems.
An ecstatic Debu pays a visit to Hotel Piccadilly where the Baba operates. At the hotel, Debu meets Nitin Kapoor, a small time film-maker [Saurabh Shukla].
Things come to a head when Debu gets conned by Kapoor and the Baba. Kapoor, who is weathering a storm in his career, unwillingly asks the Baba to bail him out of his crisis.
On Baba's advice, Kapoor films Debu doing some physical exercises and uses the same visuals in his film as a man performing sexual intercourse. Debu, of course, is oblivious to all this.
Kapoor's film releases and becomes a huge success. Ironically, Debu, still a virgin, now becomes a 'Sex Star'.
It is at this point that Sonali Verma [Perizaad Zorabian], a journalist, enters Debu's life. She wants to interview him and also bails him out of jail when he gets arrested. She even accommodates him in her house when he gets thrown out of his own.
Through a passage of time, Debu finds a soul mate in Sonali and soon they fall in love. It is then that Debu realises there is more to a relationship than just sex.
The film has an interesting plot ï¿½ in fact a story like this has never been attempted by an Indian film-maker before ï¿½ but how one wishes the twists and turns in the story were captivating enough to keep you glued right till the climax.
Loosely inspired from THE GURU, MUMBAI MATINEE has an engaging first half. The 'strange' problem the protagonist faces has been well depicted initially. His sequences with the Baba and also with the Bengali cop are very well treated and the mainstay of the enterprise.
Although the pace drops at regular intervals, one actually doesn't mind the first half since the humour succeeds in bringing a smile on your face.
But the graph of the film does an about-turn in the second half. For, the focus suddenly shifts to the love story between the protagonist and the journalist and that's where it falters. The goings-on move at a sluggish pace and also get boring at this point because the romantic track is not well developed.
Also, the extreme reactions by Rahul's landlord and the boss, who throw Rahul out of the house and job after knowing he has become a sex star, are difficult to fathom. Even the climax is such an anti-climax. A better end should've been thought of.
Director Anant Balani has handled the light sequences with aplomb, but he is terribly handicapped by a weak screenplay. Music is functional, with just one song ï¿½ 'Loot Gaye' [Anand Raaj Anand] ï¿½ starying on your lips. Cinematography [Sanjay Nair] is up to the mark.
Rahul Bose delivers a competent performance yet again. The actor is getting better with each film. Perizaad Zorabian doesn't get any scope at all. Kaabir [Rahul Bose's friend] is excellent.
Amongst character actors, Vijay Raaz and Saurabh Shukla are first-rate. Both contribute enormously in making the first half watchable. Asrani is likeable. Bakul Thakkar leaves an impact in a small role.
On the whole, MUMBAI MATINEE has something for the classes, but nothing for the masses. At the box-office, the multiplex-audience may opt for the film out of curiosity, but the numbers will be very, very limited. Heavy usage of English language in the film may also restrict its prospects to an extent.