Dasvidaniya: A bittersweet slice of middle-class life

November 14, 2008

If you were expecting Vinay Pathak’s latest film to be a comic caper, you are in for a surprise.

“Dasvidaniya” is a bittersweet comedy about a man diagnosed with cancer and how he spends the last three months of his life.

Heard that one before? It’s a subject Bollywood has dealt with in films like “Anand” and “Kal Ho Naa Ho”. The 2007 Hollywood film “The Bucket List” also had a similar storyline.

But Shashant Shah’s “Dasvidaniya” gives the plot some original twists. The film is the story of Amar Kaul, a 37-year-old timid and lonely bachelor living out a humdrum middle-class existence in a Mumbai suburb.

Vinay Pathak, best known for his simpleton act in the hit comedy ‘Bheja Fry’, plays Kaul with consummate ease — bringing alive the plump, bespectacled accounts manager with a penchant for making things-to-do lists.

Life takes a U-turn for the good-natured protagonist when a routine visit to the doctor reveals that he has stomach cancer.

Faced with the prospect of dying without having truly enjoyed life and egged on by his flamboyant alter ego, Kaul makes his umpteenth list — things-to-do-before-I-die.

He quits his job, plucking up courage to settle a score with his obnoxious boss and embarks in pursuit of his dreams — a shiny red car, a foreign trip, confessing his love to a childhood crush, guitar lessons and reuniting with an estranged brother.

Sound like a tear-jerker?

Well, yes. But there are plenty of interesting characters to provide comic relief.

There’s Kaul’s mother, an eccentric old woman with a hearing problem and an addict to soap operas on television.

There’s Kaul’s boss, the overweight owner of a pharmaceutical firm who spends his days wolfing down junk food in the privacy of his cabin.

And there’s Kaul himself, a kind-hearted soul who longs for love, friendship and some meaning in his life.

“Dasvidaniya” derives its name from the Russian word for ‘goodbye’, a fitting farewell to the hero from the film’s only Russian connection — which we won’t talk about.

The pace of the film does slacken in the second half, but some brilliant acting and poignant dialogues make up for its shortcomings.

Characters played by Rajat Kapoor, Neha Dhupia and Sarita Joshi are an effective foil to Kaul’s bumbling persona. And Ranvir Shorey is impressive in his cameo as a habitual tippler who bumps into Kaul at a bar.

It’s hard for a film without top Bollywood stars to make a killing at the box-office and “Dasvidaniya” may soon share the fate of its unlucky protagonist.

But if you are in the mood to watch a heart-warming film with some splendid performances, spending time with Amar Kaul and his acquaintances might not be a bad idea.

32 comments

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@ Tony Tharakan

“It’s hard for a film without top Bollywood stars to make a killing at the box-office and “Dasvidaniya” may soon share the fate of its unlucky protagonist” what an absurd comment…..Did u just firget about movies like Bheja Fry, Mumbai Meri jaan, Wednesday, Aamir that went on to become a hit without big star casts. Its amazing to read this from you especially when small budget movies (without big actors and actresses) are the ones that are making good business today

Posted by Chinmaya | Report as abusive

Chinmaya: The movies you mentioned are exceptions, not the rule and even they appealed mostly to multiplex audiences.

“Dasvidaniya” is a good movie but I was disappointed to see less than ten people show up for a ‘first-day-first-show’ screening whereas “Dostana” was going housefull.

I guess the problem is it’s not a typical comedy, thriller or romance.

But I hope things pick up for this film through word-of-mouth, am sure people will like it if they give it a chance.

tooo good vinay a mastr of art

Posted by amit pande | Report as abusive

It’s hight time people pondered about movies away from the hip hop, glamor ,ultra sexual bodies. These cinemas that you mentioned proved each character every second and it justified that sheer acting alone can rule the box-office and hold back audience to their seats .These movies are powered by the versatility of stage share.

Posted by Saroj Behera | Report as abusive

just wait, this is one of those movies that’ll become a huge hit gradually :)

An ultimate story line… gives a message to all. Vinay Pathak, as always has been excellent. all other casts were absolutely meant for the respective roles. A wonderful film after a long time. A MUST SEE for all the people who want to explore the meaning of life.
all the best!

Posted by Amit Hisaria | Report as abusive

A must watch movie. Though this film doesn’t have any superstar the one and only Vinay made it all. The best part of this film is its storyline, direction, and actors. Kailash Kher and his team had done the excellent job, the music is superhit. Overall the film is superhit.

Posted by Girish | Report as abusive

One of the best movie of this year, and such a original script and good acting…spl some scenes in the movie where awesome ..(One in which he proposes neha using a dumb C ) and the other (when he says good bye to his frnd),,,wow this what a movie should …so that when ur back u learn something…5 (*****) STAR for this movie and vinay pathak and Team…grt job..

Posted by Prabodh | Report as abusive

good movie with nice script,music and story…
must watch

Posted by Amar | Report as abusive

best movie ever made

Posted by kamaldeep | Report as abusive

Hey Tony….I expected Dasvidaniya to be good but after reading what you had to say…I went ahead and booked and yeah I can only see ten more seats boooked in the online booking screen…. :(

Will look forward to more reviews… will mail :)

I’m commenting for two reasons:
1) The CAPTCHA is actually a real proper noun… ‘Ikea’. And it’s rare for CAPTCHA to spell real words.
2) Because the Russian letters they’ve used in the movie name would actually spell out to read:
“Dasviddiyichd”. Stupid. rookie. mistake.

Posted by pierre | Report as abusive

Didn’t knew Vinay sir can make one cry as well. Hats off sir. Seven star for this movie.
kya???

kuch nahi.

Posted by Prab | Report as abusive

nothing much to then excellent performance with an excellent plot to make a sensible movie..

superb

Posted by Manoj | Report as abusive

the best movie I ever watched better than dostana which was released on the same date. The movie is about a dying man. ..and nothing is exception with Indians if they put their efforts in the right direction they can achieve it .. there is not doubt Vinay pathak’s production.. the best thing was evey actor didnt participated into the movie for money but for Vinay. He should be respected.

I must admit I was not very excited about watching it initially, maybe because I didn’t understand what Dasvidaniya meant plus the actors’ names were not magnetic enough in comparison to a “Dostana” but it’s a great script, completely non- frivolous and a better watch anyday than the latest “star-studded” Dostana. Great story, good acting, Vinay Pathak playing a common man waiting for his last few months to live his life to the fullest..that’s Dasvidaniya for you.

Posted by Sherin | Report as abusive

A must see. A master piece. And I lack words to appreciate this work of art (acting, script, cinematography and storyline), which proves that one doesnt need abroad-locales or glam-girls to create a good movie. Its infact more than a movie, and ofcourse, will be best appreciated by mature audience.

Posted by Rana | Report as abusive

@Tony,
Hey mate i think its the best movie after TZP ,and your line about the fate is surely wrong ,im sure this movie is a success as these films get crowds through word of mouth.You review looks more discouraging for an actor like vinay.

Posted by Roni Irani | Report as abusive

It’s a brilliant movie….All the characters have justified their role…and vinay phathak is mind boggling…a simple story…about a simple man…but so touching…after watching such movies we really good that Bollywood has evolved over a period of time…now the viewers need to evolve…yes I completely accept that it indeed was sad to see movies like dostana go housefull and not dasvidaniya…but all said and done…its a master piece!!!! I would rate it 4.5/5….as i was a little disappointed with the editing though…but definitely a movie worth watching!!!!

Posted by kusuma | Report as abusive

First of all Hats off to Vinay pathak… Good work done, infact Excellent..That was a very heart touching program and very Original treatment that one could ever give.
A MUST SEE For All with a Heart.

Wow! After reading this review, I know I have to go and watch this movie. I think many good movies are being overshadowed by the multi-super-starrer ones that aren’t anything extraordinary.
I saw Dostana a couple of days ago and as the author has mentioned in another post, I can’t say it’s extremely good unlike the hype it had…except for the ‘gay’ theme which is the first of its kind here.

Posted by Lilian | Report as abusive

With vinay pathak in the lead this movie is a must watch movie. the story line is excellent . i feel this is a must watch movie for the people who want some thing different.

I think now the bollywood is making sensible good movie which has the power to bring out emotions of viewers. Vinay pathak is the best and he will be the person to watch in this movie. the story line is excellent and I am there to watch it at the first show.

wow ! what a character vinay pathak in this movie..
After reading this review, I know I have to go and watch this movie. I think many good movies are being overshadowed by the multi-super-starrer ones that aren’t anything extraordinary.
I saw Dostana a couple of days ago and as the author has mentioned in another post, I can’t say it’s extremely good unlike the hype it had…except for the ‘gay’ theme which is the first of its kind here.

Posted by mayur | Report as abusive

A great story line, great acting, especially of Vinay pathak. There are scene’s in ths movie which will make you emitional, like the scene, where Amar kaul confesses to his childhood crush, and that too without saying a word, and also his short love story with a Russian girl, both of them fall in love,despite the language barrier. Those were some of the scene’s which i really liked, I’ve already watched it twice, and will be wacthing it again and again.A must watch for everybobody, go ahead and watch this one, you’ll like it.

Posted by Rahul Gurung | Report as abusive

Dusvidaniya … The Best Goodbye ever, is a very nice movie. A nice plot and Vinay Pathak had justified the character of Amar Kaul.Life does not ends up with the problems but the hopes must keep it going – The Show must go onn. Mumma song is a melodious and Kailash Kher has sung it so well that everyone will surely have a glimpses of their mumma while listening to it. Well Done

Posted by Deepika | Report as abusive

A wonderful move.. forced me to write my review comments here. Beleive me i m writing dis for 1st time…
Hat off to Vinay Pathak..

i have seen a good movie after very long time. Some scenes were really heart touching & picturised beautifully. really hat off to vinay pathak.

Posted by Dhawal | Report as abusive

I just finished seeing the moving. It’s a simple but very touching movie. It’s a story of a common man which makes you believe that life/story of every common man is extra-ordinary.
The message conveyed holds lot of water in it.We all our life live in superficial world and foget to look and enjoy the simple,small but most important and beautiful things in our life.
One must find some time to enjoy his life with his family, friends and must do things one love to do. We all have got but only one trip to this planet.
As aptly said “Live everyday of your life as if it is the last day.”

Posted by Rajeev Bharwan | Report as abusive

Hi
I am not a kind of person who watched hindi movie regularly.Being born in a middle class family with lot of ambitions of scaling corporate ladder,dreams,goals bla bla and all crap..
Touch wood with the grace of almighty I got almost everything I wished..
Rt now I am squeezed in the midst of some corporate diplomacy..
Yes I knew the principle “You run fast,You burn fast”,I am just 27 this June 7th

But I swear this movie gave me a new direction to life and I am thankful to it…

Lets start living “Life”
Thanks to the Almighty for giving me such a wonderful option to see the world.

Regards,
Priyvrat
“DUSVIDANIYA”

Posted by priyvrat | Report as abusive

dasvidaniya is an heart touching movie directed extremely well.vinay pathak has done a superb job.really loved this one..

Posted by abhishek r | Report as abusive

One of my favorite hindi movies.

Posted by bnsn | Report as abusive