One of my childhood memories is that of several relatives visiting us in Mumbai [presumably for a few days], but overstaying their welcome. Those days, the atithis were never looked upon as 'intruders'.
Times have changed! If you live in a metropolis, if your spouse and you work round-the-clock and have commitments to honour, any extra person - other than those living with us or is part of our day-to-day schedule - is strictly unwelcome. His/her arrival may cause hindrance and rob you of your privacy.
ATITHI TUM KAB JAOGE? mirrors a reality, but the story has scope for not just humour and emotions, the staple diet of most Hindi movies, but there's a generous dose of devotional quotient that is well integrated in the storyline.
Do you miss movies of yore, helmed by masters like Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee? ATITHI TUM KAB JAOGE? may not be a CHUPKE CHUPKE, GOLMAAL, CHITCHOR or KHATTA MEETHA, but it has a certain old-world charm that one misses in cinema of today.
Final word? Bring this atithi home!
It tells the story of Puneet [Ajay Devgn] and Munmun [Konkona], a married couple living in Mumbai. Their lives take an interesting turn when a distant relative, Chachaji [Paresh Rawal], turns up unannounced at their doorstep from a far-off village. The guest overstays his welcome, so much so that the exasperated couple come up with various ploys to hasten his departure.
ATITHI TUM KAB JAOGE? is a light-hearted entertainer that tickles your funny bone at several points. The best part is, you not only laugh at the funny one-liners, but also at situations, which are so life-like and which makes you connect with them instantly.
ATITHI TUM KAB JAOGE? rests on three characters primarily - Ajay, Konkona and Paresh - and director Ashwni Dhir and his team of writers [Robin Bhatt, Tushar Hiranandani] have ensured that there are ample [enjoyable] scenes that you carry home. What really takes you by surprise is the devotional factor that has been smartly injected in the screenplay. The traditional Indian audiences would love the Mata ki aarti, the Ganesh Chaturthi festival and the sanskaar that the atithi instils in Ajay and Konkona's child.
But the writing wanders into unwanted areas, which could've been avoided in the first place. The raid at the hotel, where Ajay, Konkona and their son move into, seems unnecessary. Ditto for the subsequent scene at the cop station. Immediately thereafter, Ajay hires the services of a Bhai to get rid of Paresh, which looks far-fetched. These three incidents, which come back to back, only add to the length of the film. Also, Paresh breaking wind [gas/flatulence] looks funny in a scene or two, but why make it a recurring occurrence? An overdose is embarrassing!
However, the climax, which starts with the sthapna of Lord Ganesh's idol in Ajay's home, till the culmination of the story, makes the goings-on immensely watchable.
Director Ashwni Dhir, best known for penning comic shows, proves that he's at ease handling dramatic [interval point] and emotional [climax] scenes with gusto. Pritam's music is ordinary, but the songs fit well in the narrative, especially the two devotional tracks. The title track [Amit Mishra] is quite catchy. Aseem Bajaj's camerawork is first-rate. Dialogues [Ashwni Dhir] are excellent.
Come to think of it, it requires a lot of courage to play a role that's devoid of star mannerisms and Ajay enacts this part most convincingly. Konkona is spontaneous and a complete natural. Paresh is superb as the atithi. He's definitely the scene-stealer! Satish Kaushik shines, especially in the sequence when he apologises to Ajay. Akhilendra Mishra, Mukesh Tiwari and Viju Khote are alright. Sanjay Mishra is first-rate.
On the whole, ATITHI TUM KAB JAOGE? is a hilarious movie, but unlike any slapstick comedy. It's a light-hearted film with sensibility, humour and a strong undercurrent of emotion. This atithi is sure to find a place in your heart!