The most underrated gem of the year

The Most Underrated Gem of the Year
November 16, 2010
I picked the DVD from the counter where so many more were lying around. I askedmy usual questions to the store owner, “Is this the original copy?”, “Pukka”, “Copy tonahi hai”. This is not because I am a pukka usoolwalah andwouldn’t watch pirated DVDs, it’s just that I have beenburned in the past when my experience was completelydestroyed because of the pirated DVD. So, only original forme now, even if that means waiting for 6 months after thefilm release. And in this case, I am glad I asked and madesure because this is a gem that should only be watched intheatre or on original DVD.
Looking at the cover, I didn’t have any expectations. I amnot one of those who watch a film purely based on reviewsbut I do get impacted by the promos and the buzz aroundthe film. In the case of ASR, there was absolutely no buzzand reviews were lukewarm at best. Raja Sen at Rediff gave 1.5 starts to the film, urggg. Ihaven’t checked Taran Adarsh, but I am sure he must have trashed it as well.
There was Shreyas Talpade on the cover. I didn’t even notice Kay Kay, until I started towatch the film. Usually my expectation from a Shreyas film is low, I expected a wellintentioned but badly made and half baked film. That’s how this one also started, with aterrorist warning and the terrorist arriving by boat, packed with dry fruits and stuff, asmile crossed my face, ok, the director is trying to be topical and realistic based on the newsreports about 26/11, let’s see how far he goes. And then, the film took a complete u-turnand I knew I am in for a really well made comedy. I saw the early signs of it with Shreyas’sentry and right in next scene when he loses his gun, but the film really took off with theentry of Vijay Maurya.
Who is this Vijay Maurya? Never heard of him? I had to pause the film to check the castingand learned that his name is Vijay Maurya. Turns out he was in Socha Na Tha and if Iremember correctly he was the side kick friend to Abhay Deol and he was good there too.
His very first dialog in ASR cracked me up , “Kya yah wafadar hain?”, asks KK. “Nahi,wafadar nahi, bharose ke hain”, replies Vijay in a south Indian and Mumbaiya mixedaccept. The writers didn’t let up after that at all. Vijay did well but lot of credit goes to thewriters. The dialogs are crisp and very situational. There is no forced comedy.
Looking back, I was thinking, why didn’t anyone else think about it earlier. I mean aboutputting together a Mumbaiya speaking south Indian don with a urdu speaking terrorist.
Vijai Maurya has the best of the lines but KK proved a perfect foil, playing his role with aserious terrorist face, starting with a unique combination of menace and ignorance thatgradually gives way to innocence and stupidity as he falls in love. KK is not trying to do anycomedy anywhere, not even in the scenes where he is trying to practice his tapori slangs.
He is dead serious and if you Mr. Audience get the comedy out of it, it’s your problem. It’salso very generous of KK to let actors junior to him take the best of lines and scenes.
Shreyas does his job well. But he has this Jimmy Shergil type problem of constantlyunderplaying his role. Both of these actors are very competent and deserve credit for thekind of scripts and films they support but sometimes I wish they cranked it up a notchwhen needed. But I like Shreyas, he is never unwatchable or completely bad and usuallybetter than the scripts given to him.
Mahi Gill doesn’t have much to do and doesn’t do anything to make it into a role. Even thelines given to her such as “SMS karo a 420420” don’t quite register until late into the film.
Shenaz Treaserwala looks gorgeous I am a fan since her MTV days. Her MTV stint wassuch a while ago, I wonder how young she still looks. There are two other actos who have adecent role as the loser lover boy and his girlfriend who is commissioner’s daughter. Theydo an adequate job but don’t make much of a difference.
Real hero of the film is it’s writing. The writers of ASR have a really khurafati mind. Thedesign of Don’s adda like a Disney ride where a woman on the screen welcomes you and thedon himself introduced you to his corporation S.L.T. which stands for Socha to Locha. Thedifferent departments in his adda with one for “Lost and Found” for guns where you areexpected to deposit Rs 150 and write your name on a register, that kind of silly stuff thatmakes ASR what it is.
The temple scene where the don wants to do a mandawali with God is just hilarious stuff. Iwish it could be longer and they could go on and on with it, it was that good. The way theDon explains his rationale, the expression on the Pandit’s face when he gets guns and cashand the whole idea of trying to break the coconut with a bullet is just too damn good. I waswondering why they didn’t follow through on that, may be they got scared of thecontroversy that could be raised by the religious political parties. Vijay Maurya’s deliveryof each and every dialog was pitch perfect, writers must be very proud of him, Thebeginning of the sequence where the Pandit says – “Aaiye sajjan”, and the Don responds –“Sajjan Nahi Shetty”.
The whole sequence about teri bulbul or meri bulbul between Vijay Maury and KK or thescene where the don gets upset with KK for falling in love instead of spreading terror“Atank watank phaialne kya, yeh kya bulbul ke chakkar mein pad gaya” or the scenewhere Vijay Maurya teaches KK how to win the girl over in a tapori style, are all worthrepeat watch.
I hope this gem gets its due one day. And I think it will, over time through word of mouth.
AAA wasn’t appreciated when it came out. When AA first came out, humor kind of lookforced, every body was trying to be funny in every scene. But over time people realizedthat no matter how many times you watched it, it still made you laugh and the scenes andcharacters that looked foolish and caricaturish first time such as that of Crime Master Gogaon first watch, made you laugh even more during the repeat watch. It may not be as big asAAA, but I am sure it’ll get noticed and appreciated over time. I watched it 3 times alreadyand don’t mind watching it again.


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