Lafangey Parindey Movie Review
Is it possible to excel at mediocrity? To be average so often that you get really good at it? Yes, indeed it is. Yash Raj Films proves it with Lafangey Parindey, a film about a TV show. Yes, it is a cut rate Bunty Aur Babli with India’s Got Talent as the end goal. Pinky Palkar (Deepika Padukone) is a blind skater who wants to escape the Tilakwadi slum to become a dancing star. One Shot Nandu/Nandan Kamtekar(Neil Nitin Mukesh) is a fighter who works for Usmanbhai (Piyush Mishra) and wins big every Friday. He fights blindfolded. She is blind. Yes, it’s that sort of film where everything is written in all caps, with exclamation marks at the end. He will teach her how to see, and she will teach him how to skate. Grr.
Now I have no problem with aspirations and goodlooking young people embodying them. Even if the boy is better looking than even the supermodel girl (pity about his acting, but the pink cheeks are very distracting). I do have a problem with a film that is so self consciously set in a chawl. From Deepika Padukone’s rosebud lips spewing the foulest language to Neil Nitin Mukesh’s Anglicised Marathi, it grates. Then there are the regulation friends. Three for the boy (with sadak-chhap type of names like Chaddi and Diesel to represent the rainbow nation) and one for the girl (to provide one love interest for one of the boys). And then there is the YRF set, a permanent one now, I think, which can go from representing the village in Aaja Nachle to Amritsar in Rab Ne Bana De Jodi to a Mumbai chawl in Lafangey Parindey.
YRF’s problem is that they were the first off the block in so many things. In candy-dipped family love stories, which Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions now does better, with a twist. And in youthful movies which UTV does in an edgier manner. Bereft of its winning edge, it can now only fall back on formula, which it does competently but not well enough to excite interest. So whether it is Badmaash Company or Lafangey Parindey, it has young people, it has aspiration, and it has a certain mood (1980s Delhi for Badmaash and 2010 Mumbai for Lafangey) but not much more. You know the boy and girl will fall in love with all that brushing against each other that dancing entails. You know Usmanbhai (played by Mishra with two gold teeth) will prove to be the stumbling block. And you know there will be an upright police officer (Manish Chaudhuri from the dead YRF show Powder) to provide some more tension. But then?
Nothing. The skating/dancing is excellent, even though at times you can tell it’s the stand-ins and not the real stars. The language is painfully authentic. The chawl is designer run down–yes the streets are cobbled but not overflowing with filth. And the blindness is appropriately touching. But there isn’t much here we haven’t seen in earlier movies. YRF being YRF cannot resist invoking their library of films every once in a while. So whether it’s the Dhoom song they dance to or the Tashan song on air, YRF is everywhere, just to remind us of their pioneering ways.
But it’s not enough to save this retread. There’s a fight where Neil Nitin spills blood, then there’s a dance where Deepika looks angelic, fight, dance, fight, dance, err, you get the picture. There are some wah wah type dialogues as well. “Dekhne ke liye aankhen nahin, kida mangta”, “ek kamra ho, naukri ho, tabhi to dilwale dulhaniya le jeynge, nahim to hum aapke hain koun”, and “apne sapnon ka encounter mat kar, Pinky”. There are also enough festivals–from Navratra to Ganesh Chaturthi to Diwali. But it’s somewhat tedious. Watching both Deepika and Neil Nitin trying to get under the skin of their tough-as-nails characters is like watching two beautiful babies trying to put on Rambo acts. Cute but not enough.
And we have almost half an hour of India’s Got Talent, a show that is already on air. Why would you want to waste a quarter of the film on a show you can watch for free at home? Neil Nitin asks Deepika at a crucial point in the film: tujhe shaana banna hai ya yeda? Frankly neither.
This one is straight to the DVD pile. Watch it on a rainy day. There’s lots of rain in the film as well. But no, Kaminey it ain’t.
Source: India Today