Young, lively and satirical. That, in short, summarizes F.A.L.T.U., helmed by director Remo D'Souza [his first Hindi film; he had directed a Bengali film before].
Come to think of it, a number of choreographers - right from Kamal, Saroj Khan, Chinni Prakash and B.H. Tharun Kumar to Farah Khan, Ahmed Khan and Ganesh Acharya - have accepted the challenge of going beyond their boundaries of work. Call it a coincidence, their first attempts have never been musicals or dance-based affairs - something that the viewer would naturally expect from them. Now Remo sets his maiden effort F.A.L.T.U. in a college campus, casts young talents and comes up with a film that has loads of energy, plus a message before it concludes.
There's talk that F.A.L.T.U. is a mishmash of the 2006 Hollywood movie ACCEPTED. In fact, the Hindi film industry had already made mincemeat of it in a film called ADMISSIONS OPEN, which released last year. It was so poorly crafted that it arrived and departed without making any noise.
Again, ACCEPTED wasn't an original piece of work. It borrowed from two films, ANIMAL HOUSE and CAMP NOWHERE, with a bit of VAN WILDER thrown in. Remo, on the other hand, may be inspired by ACCEPTED [although the story is credited to Sachin Bajaj], but screenplay writers Mayur Puri and Tushar Hiranandani give it a desi feel to suit the Indian sensibilities. Besides, like Rajkumar Hirani's iconic Hit 3 IDIOTS, F.A.L.T.U. drives home a message in its penultimate moments.
F.A.L.T.U. gives its take on the educational system, but it's far from serious and preachy. With foot-tapping songs and energetic choreography [naturally, with Remo at the helm], loads of humor and tremendous youth appeal, F.A.L.T.U. is more of a fun ride that's wildly aimed at the youth in particular. In fact, I'd go to the extent of saying that the film reflects the attitude of Gen X.
On the flip side, the writing could've been tighter. In fact, F.A.L.T.U. vacillates constantly between interesting and implausible moments as four young students decide to set up a fake educational institution within, hold your breath, one day. Also, the writers indulge in too many cinematic liberties, so much so that you lose count after a point. The redeeming aspect is its musical score and the magnificent execution of these tracks.
F.A.L.T.U. is a story of coming of age of today's youth. They don't choose a different path, but create one. It tells the story of a group of friends who are considered a total waste. Thanks to their terrible grades, Jackky, Angad and Pooja don't get admission in a college. That's when Jackky gets a brainwave: Why not start a University with the help of his friends? That's how Fakirchand And Lakirchand Trust University [F.A.L.T.U.] takes shape.
Jackky seeks help from a friend, Arshad Warsi, who in turn gets Riteish Deshmukh, a school teacher, to play the part of the Principal. Jackky's plans go kaput when several academic rejects show up at the door, hoping for an education.
There have been several college comedies in the past and though times have changed, not much has changed when it comes to films set in college campus. And let me add, F.A.L.T.U. doesn't claim to be an innovator too. It's a full-on masala film, more of a fun ride, with the real drama setting in only towards its penultimate moments. Sure, one does feel that F.A.L.T.U. is mired in seen-it-all-before situations, but what saves the film is the masala quotient that doesn't let you take it seriously.
But the film falters at places. Though it thrives on jokes, some of the yarns fall flat and aren't as enjoyable. Besides, like I pointed out at the outset, the film abounds in cinematic liberties. How do the friends raise money to set up a University in a single day? Everything is taken care of in mere 24 hours - right from finding a huge mansion that can pass off as a University, to renovating it, to getting the required furniture, to funding for the accommodation of the students, food, booze et al. Now that seems too hard to digest!
Also, the character of Arshad Warsi comes across as unreal. I mean, how does he have a solution [and money] for every problem?
But despite the absurdities and illogicalities, F.A.L.T.U. strikes a chord towards its final moments. The event in the finale [the choreography is astounding] and Jackky's take on the educational system drives home a bitter truth. The finale, let me add, and prior to that the video interviews of several real-life experts add zing to the proceedings.
Director Remo D'Souza's fundas are clear: Let's entertain! In fact, the film is targeted at the youth and it is this segment that will identify with it more than any age-group. One of the aces of the film is, without doubt, its musical score. Generally, a film-maker considers himself lucky if even one track hits the top charts, but in this case, not one or two, but four songs have become hugely popular with the youth. 'Chaar Baj Gaye' [the anthem of the youth], 'Bhoot Aaya', 'Fully Faltu' and 'Le Ja Tu Mujhe' only prove how skilled and proficient young music composers Sachin-Jigar are. This one's a smash hit score. Besides, Remo's topnotch choreography enhances the impact of the songs. Vijay Arora's cinematography is up to the mark. I'd like to make a special note of the dialogue, which are very well worded at places.
The four youngsters get almost equal prominence in this enterprise. Jackky grabs the opportunity with both his hands and delivers a charming, charismatic performance. His dances boast of unique steps, not the run of the mill kind. Puja looks lovely and enacts her part with utmost confidence. Angad Bedi is a revelation. Ditto for Chandan Roy Sanyal [seen in KAMINEY earlier]. In fact, both Angad and Chandan stand out in their respective parts and are here to stay.
Riteish Deshmukh is bankable as always, while Arshad Warsi does well, although the character isn't well developed. Akbar Khan is decent. Mithun Chakraborty [cameo] and Boman Irani are wonderful. As for the supporting cast, Darshan Jariwala leaves the maximum impact.
On the whole, F.A.L.T.U. banks heavily on the formula that the youth loves. It's funny, energetic and has a big ace in its smash hit musical score. I would go to the extent of saying that the movie works because it doesn't pretend to be path-breaking. It offers what the audience desires: Entertainment!