A coming- of – age- Dil Chahta Hai – changes- gender-comedy, about four 18-going-on-adulthood girls. Pari (Natasha) is the upper-class snob who often funds fun fundas for her middleclass best-friend Jiya (Vega). Their equation is a very distant descendent of Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna in Namak Haraam. Add to the twosomeâ€™s on-and-off bonding a couple of more inseparable friends Rakhi (Maanvi) and Sanya(Annchal) and you have a bubbly bouncy brew of backslapping and bonhomie during times of picnics, parties, growing up and realizing life is not a fun zone.
Aamras is high on content. Debutant director Rupali Guha who is veteran Basu Chatterjee’s daughter pays a winking homages to her dad and his colleague Hrishikesh Mukherjee. At the girls’ picnic the man-in-charge is named Parimal Tripathi (Ashish Roy), a la Dharmendra in Chupke Chupke.
Guha gives a sweet and sometimes slyly amusing spin to the high-school hijinks of a foursome that just wants to have fun, but soon gets to know that life has other plans. However, the director fails to carry off the emotional high-points (like the rich Pari’s anger and jealousy when Jiya gets a boyfriend or the death of Jiya’s mother). Happily Guha has cast a quartet of newcomers in the lead who make the energized trivia of teen life seem believable and warm. The film has that quaint cosy feeling that the director’s father specialized in. The script moves forward at a measured and even pace, even when it’s let down by uneven technical details.
Of late there have been some frank and forthright exposes on school-going mores and values. Director Robby Grewal’s Mera Pehla Pehla Pyar and Satish Kaushik’s recent Teree Sang showed the compulsive fixation on dating and match-making among post-adolescent teenagers. In Aamras the foursome’s friendship is done with sincerity. However the cosy intimacy wears thin when the principal characters begin to behave like one-dimensional stereotypes rather than the real people you tend to believe them to be initially.
The script crams too much into the narrative’s fragile frame. Loud malfunctional families, the laughable arrogance of the rich, friendship and jealousy over parties and friendships, stealthily-shot kisses on the phone, a stabbed and dead beloved mother-figure and a painting competition where the middleclass girl sacrifices her chance to go to Paris for the rich insufferable snoot of a friend. All this, and more! It’s like placing heavy baggage on a tender shoulder.
Finally the film’s narrative seems to have bitten more than it can chew. You like the film for its sweet and honest intention rather than execution. The performances by the four girls range from the warmly credible to the passable. The girls make a convincing quartet. The supporting cast of veterans is surprisingly lackluster. What’s that hideous hammy avatar that Reema Lagoo assumes to play the flirty teacher? Basuda would cringe at that one.