This may be their first independent venture as producer and director, but you do expect more from MUMBAI SE AAYA MERA DOST.
Reason being, producer Vishal Nihalani is not new to film-making. Ditto for director Apoorva Lakhia, who has assisted some of the biggest names in Hollywood, besides being associated with the Academy Award nominated LAGAAN.
Also, the film stars Abhishek Bachchan and Lara Dutta together for the first time. Besides, the promotion of the film ï¿½ with rural India being highlighted in the promos ï¿½ gives it a refreshingly unique look.
Obviously, MUMBAI SE AAYA MERA DOST is an important film for reasons more than one.
But MUMBAI SE AAYA MERA DOST is a mixed bag -- it boasts of some brilliantly executed sequences as also as some insignificant ones, which throw a spanner.
Despite the best efforts of the Indian government, there still exist villages that do not have electricity. MUMBAI SE AAYA MERA DOST is the story of one such village.
MUMBAI SE AAYA MERA DOST revolves around Kanji [Abhishek Bachchan] whose gift to his grand-father [television set] sparks off a power struggle, which leads to bloodshed and mayhem.
The modern world takes over the lives of these villagers and the powerful begin to feel the pinch...
Opting for a refreshingly different plot and setting up the drama in a village are efforts that need to be lauded. But instead of focussing on the interesting aspect of power struggle that ensues, the film run into various tracks that look completely out of place in a film like this.
But let's start with the plusses first!
Director Apoorva Lakhia knows the technique right. Together with cinematographer Gururaj R.J., he formulates an ambience that looks enchanting. Though a number of films have been shot in Rajasthan earlier, the visual impact of this film is stunning.
Besides, Apoorva has handled a couple of sequences with flourish. Those involving the negative elements [Yashpal Sharma, Akhilendra Mishra] are the best part of the enterprise. Lara's introduction [song], Abhishek and Yashpal Sharma's first meeting, the sequence when Yashpal confronts Lara and the climax can easily be singled out.
But as a writer, Apoorva doesn't get it completely right in his very first film. To start with, the character of Chunkey Pandey and the initial sequences try hard to evoke mirth, but fall flat.
While the basic story of power struggle is fascinating, too much screen time/footage has been undeservedly given to two characters mainly ï¿½ Hari [Dayashankar Pandey] and Abdul [Shubro Bhattacharya]. Hari's obsession for moustaches and Abdul's slow motion act hardly evoke hilarity. In fact, they take the graph of the film downhill, making you wonder as to what was the idea behind making these characters so very prominent and in the process, deviating from the plot.
Also, the romance between Abhishek and Lara could've been better conceived. It looks too sudden from Lara's end, to respond so effortlessly.
Even the Raageshwari and the 'Star News' angle in the pre-climax seems unwarranted. Had the director concentrated on the conflict between Abhishek and Yashpal Sharma, the results would've been captivating.
But there's no denying that the director knows his job as a technician. His shot execution is far superior from most first-timers. In fact, it matches some of the best names on Hindi film circuit today. The climax is fantastic and the action in the climax [Shahid Ali] succeeds in keeping you spellbound.
Anu Malik's music has the rustic feel, which gels beautifully with the genre. 'Saiyyan' is the best of the lot and the choreography of this track [Vaibhavi Merchant] is fantastic. Even the background score is first-rate.
Gururaj R.J.'s cinematography is fabulous. The sand dunes have never looked so beautiful as in this film. Editing [Steven Bernard] could've been sharper. Costumes [Kinnari Pannikar, Theia, Pooja] are well worked upon.
Abhishek Bachchan enacts his part with conviction. There's no denying that the actor is cultivating his individual style and that's a welcome move. Lara Dutta looks gorgeous, but looks too up-to-the-minute to play a village belle. However, her performance is quite alright.
Yashpal Sharma is outstanding in a role that looks so authentic. Aditya Lakhia [Surya] is natural. Akhilendra Mishra is effective. Dayashankar Pandey and Shubro Bhattacharya irritate. Raageshwari and Chunkey Pandey don't impress.
On the whole, MUMBAI SE AAYA MERA DOST has its moments of glory, but they're far to less to generate a lasting impact. Ordinary.