Love, ishq, pyaar, mohabbat is in the air. And Bollywood seems enthralled by it. LUV KA THE END and LOVE U... MR. KALAKAAR! have released, PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA opens this Friday, while KUCCH LUV JAISAA, A
STRANGE LOVE STORY and LOVE EXPRESS are slated for release in the coming weeks. In my career spanning three decades, I have never witnessed so many movies with similar sounding titles releasing in such a
short span. Oh yes, Bollywood is incomplete without love stories, but the frequent usage of the word 'Love' has been a rarity. These films, at least those that have released [LUV KA THE END and LOVE U... MR.
KALAKAAR!], were aimed at enticing the youth -- their target audience. PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA does that as well.
Deemed as the most dependable genre [youth-centric rom-com], PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA is amusing, witty, sharp and contemporary, but it does some serious talking as well. Oh yes, it arrives with zilch expectations
[bunch of new actors, new director, team of new composers are responsible for this entertainer], but the efforts are worth it and the time, well spent. First-time writer-director Luv Ranjan ensures that
there are wild-whacky moments aplenty, but he also smartly integrates heavy-duty drama towards the concluding moments that camouflage the rough ends in the narrative.
PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA is young at heart and contemporary. Having said that I'd like to add that it's not for those who relish the conventional rom-coms. The conservative and old school types may find the
portions blasphemous and sacrilegious. Also, the film may be perceived as a sex comedy on the lines of AMERICAN PIE, but there's more to it. It's actually a satire on love and relationships.
PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA packs a solid punch, but you can't overlook the hiccups in this journey as well. Firstly, it takes a really long time to reach the finale. The creators of this film may argue, there are
three stories to be told, but let's look at it objectively. The story stagnates in the middle of the second hour. Had the writer-director used restraint by narrating the three stories in a concise format, I
am very sure, the impact would've only been razor-sharp and far more compelling that what it is.
Rajat [Kartik], Chaudhary [Raayo] and Liquid [Divyendu] are stuck in their boring jobs and crave for women to add some spice into their lives. The unfortunate Rajat soon finds one in Neha [Nushrat]. It is
all so good and rosy till Rajat moves in to live with her. Chaudhary meets Riya [Sonalli], but she's still stuck with Varun [Padam], her boyfriend of five years. Liquid and Charu [Ishita] become friends at
work. Charu likes him, but only as a friend. She is already committed to her long-distance beau, Abhijeet [Ravjeet]. Liquid takes his best friend role very seriously, only to end up being used in the
process. This is the story of three guys and the tumultuous relationships they share with the women in their lives.
PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA isn't ground-breaking or pioneering cinema, but I have to state, it puts the fun quotient back into the movies due to its unsullied take on relationships, which snowballs into heavy-duty
drama as it reaches the finale. Let this not mislead you that it's a sex-comedy with lewd jokes, sensual scenes and colorful lingo. It's not. As a matter of fact, the lingo is straight out of life, laced
with some crackling and witty one-liners. Exactly the way the metropolitan youth communicate in their everyday tête-à-tête.
What also works in its favor is the fact that it's not the boy-meet-gal-and-they-live-happily-thereafter kind of beaten to death plot. It's a fresh take on relationships -- the relationships blossom, guys
become puppets, but break free eventually. Besides, the choice of actors -- new faces all -- makes you relate to the characters even more. After all, they arrive without the baggage of an image.
Luv Ranjan knows the grammar of film-making right. Everything that you see seems straight out of life. He strikes the right balance between fun-n-frolic and somber-n-serious moments. Particularly noteworthy
are the sequences in the finale, when the three boys have terrible heartaches and break down inconsolably. Prior to that the sequences that lead to the drift are well penned and dexterously executed. The
film has an energetic musical score, complimenting the genre of the film. 'Ishq Na Kariyo Kaake' [composer: Clinton Cerejo] and 'Kutta' [composer: Luv Ranjan] are youth-friendly tracks and both have been
lapped up by viewers. Sudhir K. Chaudhary's cinematography is first-rate.
Now to the performances. The newcomers, all actually, are confidence personified. The show-stealer is the plain looking Divyendu; you take to his character and also his performance instantly. He is simply
outstanding! Kartik is a bit awkward initially, but his performance grows on you gradually. He's incredible during the final moments of the film. Raayo is confident, polished and completely in sync with his
character. He conveys a lot through his eyes, which is the hallmark of a fine actor. The camaraderie between these three guys is superb. Amongst the girls, it's Nushrat who walks away with a powerful role
and a power-packed performance. Ishita is efficient, especially in the sequence when she lashes out at Divyendu. Sonalli is perfect for her part.
On the whole, PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA has a single-point plan of engaging and amusing the spectators by telling a story which is unusual, yet relevant. It's radiantly good cinema that needs to be lauded and
encouraged. Strongly recommended, go for it!