RGV has attempted a number of serious films in rapid succession and a light entertainer from his stable is a rarity. That sure whets your appetite for a film like DARWAZA BANDH RAKHO, which promises to be a laughathon. Besides, the captain of the ship in this case is an actor, Chekravarthy, who didn't create much an impact with DURGA, but proved his credentials when he directed one of the short stories in DARNA ZAROORI HAI.
That raises the expectations from this low-budget enterprise.
Like a majority of RGV films, DARWAZA BANDH RAKHO has a novel premise. But most innovative and unusual themes run out of steam midway because the storytelling lacks that certain spark. Thankfully, DARWAZA BANDH RAKHO gets most things right in those 11 reels.
The plot of DARWAZA BANDH RAKHO is refreshingly different, but it bears an uncanny resemblance to the RGV-produced LOVE KE LIYE KUCH BHI KAREGA and the recent MALAMAAL WEEKLY. Despite similarities, DARWAZA BANDH RAKHO still comes across as an original concept because director Chekravarthy has planted the film in one mansion from start to end and woven the story around multiple characters.
Also, the two important mantras that any and every comic caper ought to remember are [i] The jokes ought to be funny and [ii] The actors should have a terrific sense of timing. DARWAZA BANDH RAKHO appeals because some of the jokes/antics are truly hilarious and also, the actors play to the gallery.
The expectations don't run sky-high when you walk into the screening of DARWAZA BANDH RAKHO, but, be rest assured, you'd come out of the screening with a smile on your face and pleasant memories of the film.
Four men -- Ajay [Aftab Shivdasani], Raghu [Chunky Pandey], Goga [Snehal Dabhi] and Abbas [Zakir Hussain] -- plan of making a quick buck by kidnapping a rich girl, Isha [Isha Sharvani].
Not being prepared for unforeseen situations, they are forced to take shelter in a mansion and take the people residing in the house [Ishrat Ali, Smita Jaykar, Padma Rani, Vijay Singh, Tashu] as hostages. Bad luck strikes when they get to know that the father of the kidnapped girl [Gulshan Grover] has flown out of the country the very same day.
The kidnappers, in the waiting process, are forced to take more people as hostages to keep their identity and plan under wraps. The hostages create a series of situation too complex for the kidnappers to handle.
DARWAZA BANDH RAKHO is a comic fest from start to end. In fact, the very start of the film -- the introduction of Ishrat Ali's family and the change of fortunes -- defines the mood of the film. And the arrival of the unwanted guests in the house [the four gangsters and the kidnapped girl] at the start itself only spruces up matters.
The unconventional story only gets exciting as a steady stream of visitors start flowing in - first, the pizza delivery boy [Nitin Raikwar], followed by a sales girl [Manisha Koirala], the domestic help's husband [Ravi Kale], the money lender [Jeeva], a doctor [Kota Srinivasa Rao], the money lender's son [Javed], an estate agent [Goga Kapoor], Isha's father's secretary [Pramod Moutho], Isha's father [Gulshan Grover], the gangster [Raju Mavani] and the cop [Anupam Shyam].
Despite an offbeat theme, one location and multiple characters, DARWAZA BANDH RAKHO doesn't get chaotic or messy at all. In fact, the narrative is easy to comprehend and what really helps is that each character gets his/her due importance -- a scene or two that makes him/her the focus of attention.
Chekravarthy has not only chosen a hatke theme, but has also shot the film well. The incidents unfurl at a feverish pace and there's not one dull moment. But the climax chase could've been shorter and more impactful. Ishrat Ali running away with the bagful of money and breaking into martial arts could've been avoided. Yet, despite the hiccups, the film provides laughter in abundance.
The background score [Amar Mohile] is just right. Special mention must be made of the camerawork; it's excellent. Dialogues [Snehal Dabhi] are mass-oriented and work to the benefit of the film. The sound quality is also appropriate.
The film has a huge cast, but the one who steals the show is Ishrat Ali, who is terrific all through and will be loved by the masses. The actor, who made a strong impact with KAALCHAKRA years ago, gets yet another role that would stand out in his repertoire.
Isha Sharvani is a complete natural and shows tremendous improvement over her debut film [KISNA]. The initial awkwardness is all gone. In fact, Isha's presence adds to the freshness in the film. Aftab does quite well, although the role doesn't offer him scope to display histrionics. Chunky has a flair for comedy and that comes across well in his scenes with Manisha.
Manisha Koirala is fair. Zakir Hussain excels. In fact, the actor conveys so much through expressions. Snehal Dabhi is okay. Ravi Kale leaves a strong impact. Divya Dutta is, as always, dependable. Smita Jaykar and Padma Rani look perfect for the parts. The sequences between Jeeva and Kota Srinivasa Rao are truly hilarious; both shine in small roles. Goga Kapoor, Raju Mavani, Pramod Moutho and Gulshan Grover lend decent support.
On the whole, DARWAZA BANDH RAKHO is a fun ride that should appeal to lovers of comedy. At the box-office, the main opposition this week [ANTHONY KAUN HAI?] and the big one next week [K.A.N.K.] will affect its prospects. The film will have to rely on a strong word of mouth eventually.