Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

August 20, 2010

Street dancers

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 11:12 pm

August 20, 2010

Cast: Neil Nitin Mukesh, Deepika Padukone, Piyush Mishra

Director: Pradeep Sarkar

Only Yashraj Films — known for their squeaky-clean characters and their synthetic entertainers — would cast the freshly scrubbed, rosy-cheeked Neil Nitin Mukesh as a tough-as-nails street-fighter. In Lafangey Parindey, directed by Parineeta’s Pradeep Sarkar, Neil stars as Nandu, a Mumbai tapori who fights blindfolded in bare-knuckled bouts, vanquishing his opponents with a single blow.

When Pinky Palkar (played by Deepika Padukone), a feisty figure-skater from his basti loses her sight in a hit-and-run accident, Nandu takes her under his wing and helps her become self-reliant. She in turn, convinces him to skate-dance with her so she can enter a talent contest that she’s forever had her eyes on (pun unintended).

The obligatory romance that follows is at the core of this film, that’s weighed down by a predictable script packed with lazy stereotypes. So you have the hero’s idle friends, who have affectionate nicknames like Chaddi and Diesel. You have a gold-toothed villain and an upright cop. You also have a yuppie star (Neil) spouting Bambaiyya street-lingo in his Anglicized accent. And then there’s that designer run-down basti, the sanitized YRF version of a Mumbai chawl.

Lafangey Parindey isn’t a particularly bad film; it’s just not a good film either. It’s the kind of film that keeps you waiting for something to happen, but nothing ever does. There’s no element of surprise or unpredictability in its screenplay; and as a result even though it’s only two hours long, you find yourself exhausted by the time the lights come back on.

On the upside, the film has a refreshing soundtrack by R Anandh, and some of the supporting cast makes an impression, particularly Wake Up Sid‘s Namit Das who plays Nandu’s friend Chaddi.

Of the leads, Neil Nitin Mukesh approaches his part earnestly, and throws himself into the film’s bloody fight scenes with as much intensity as he can muster. The problem, unfortunately, is that he appears and sounds too clean-cut to come off as a convincing sadak chaap. Deepika Padukone, meanwhile, succeeds in cobbling together a performance using mostly her eyes and her body language, and she pulls off the street-speak without too many hiccups either.

Lafangey Parindey is the kind of film that doesn’t stay in your head much after you’ve left the cinema. And you should be happy for that!

I’m going with two out of five for director Pradeep Sarkar’s Lafangey Parindey. It’s a pointless, boring film. Watch it if you have 200 bucks to waste!

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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