Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Lafangey Parindey: Skating on thin ice
There are some actors who can elevate a mediocre movie to great heights just on the strength of their craft. And there are some who will plunge their films into further depths of mediocrity. Pradeep Sarkar’s “Lafangey Parindey” falls in the second category.
If last week’s “Peepli (Live)” was the best cast film of 2010, this one is definitely a candidate for worst cast ever. Deepika Padukone and Neil Nitin Mukesh do not look remotely convincing in their characters, speaking Mumbai’s “tapori” language with as much panache as a penthouse-owning, six-figure salary earning South Mumbai resident might be expected to speak. (For those out of Mumbai, these two worlds are poles apart).
Imagine if you will Neil Nitin Mukesh playing a street fighter who, while on an errand for a local goon, is involved in a hit-and-run, injuring his neighbour Pinky Patkar (Padukone), a dancer who has dreams of making it big.
As a result of the accident, Pinky becomes blind and a guilt-ridden Nandu (Mukesh) decides to teach her to “see”, training her to listen with her remaining senses. He is helped by a motley group of friends (one of whom is strangely called ‘chaddi’)
All this is established in the first half-hour of “Lafangey Parindey”. After that, director Sarkar meanders along towards an ending we all knew at the beginning of the film.
Along the way, there are dialogues like “ek nandu ke liye apne sapne ka encounter mat kar”, a few songs and the token police/goon rivalry which is disposed of so summarily you don’t even know where to look in the end. And a lot of skating.
Pinky, you see, is a dancer on skates and wants to enter a reality show to showcase her talent (remind you of any other Yashraj film?) Since her regular partner dumps her after she becomes blind, she latches on to Nandu, teaches him skating and they skate their way through the second half.
I am not sure whether Pradeep Sarkar wanted to make a gritty gangster film, a love story or a musical. The story is in shambles and Deepika especially doesn’t convince anyone that she comes from a lower middle-class family — one look at her perfectly made-up face and expensive looking jeans is enough.
Neil Nitin Mukesh mumbles and fumbles his way through the film, trying to exude a “strong and silent” vibe but failing miserably.
Sarkar could have at least provided a slice of life into the many colonies like Tilakwadi that Mumbai is home to but even that looks half-hearted. This is ultimately a “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi” for those living south of Delhi. Watch it if you must.