India Insight

Movie Review: Raja Natwarlal

August 29, 2014

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Kunal Deshmukh, going by his filmography, loves two things – Emraan Hashmi and cricket. After “Jannat” – a movie about cricket and match fixing – and the caper film “Jannat 2″, director Deshmukh seems to have combined the storylines for his latest offering – a caper film about cricket starring Hashmi.

Raja NatwarlalRaja Natwarlal” is a flimsily written and half-heartedly directed film, which falls short of its lofty ambitions because no one associated with it seems to have any concern for detailing or authenticity on celluloid.

Hashmi plays a cocky, but good-hearted con man, who decides to rob 8 million rupees from a gangster. When his partner-in-crime Raghav (Deepak Tijori) has a change of heart and decides to return the money to Varda Yadav (Kay Kay Menon), Raghav is shot dead.

Raja (Hashmi) decides to take revenge. He enlists the help of his friend’s mentor Yogi (Paresh Rawal) and puts together a motley crew, almost the equivalent of an Indian Ocean’s Eleven.

The con, which involves selling Yadav a cricket team in a domestic Twenty20 tournament is where the film really falls apart. There are so many loopholes in the plan, and so much is left unexplained that, at the end of the film, the audience might feel they are the ones being conned.

Raja and his gang organise a fake auction, fake meetings with fake cricket board officials, and fabricate stories about the game out of thin air. And yet, Yadav, who is apparently ruthless and extremely passionate about cricket, has no idea how these things work.

Raja NatwarlalThe final twist, if you may call it that, is laughable rather than shocking, and ample proof of the haphazardness that the film demonstrates throughout.

Of the cast, Emraan Hashmi seems to have got the role down pat, and doesn’t feel the need to do anything extra. Paresh Rawal and Kay Kay Menon are efficient, but the script holds them down.

“Raja Natwarlal” is a victim of half-baked ideas and having the wrong people at the helm.

(Follow Shilpa on Twitter at @shilpajay. This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)

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