Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
My Friend Pinto: Tests your patience
Some films have you hooked from word go. Some grow on you, getting your attention as the story moves along. Raaghav Dar’s “My Friend Pinto” falls in the third category. You keep waiting for the movie to hook you, but it never does.
The film is a disjointed effort that never seems to find its peak and is hampered by a weak script that ensures you don’t feel for any of the characters or keep up with any of the chaos that seems to be unfolding on screen.
Prateik stars as the protagonist of the film, Michael Pinto, a simpleton who comes to Mumbai from Goa, hoping to see the world before he goes off to become a priest. He lands up at his childhood friend Sameer’s (Arjun Mathur) place, in the naïve hope that Sameer would welcome him as he would have when they were kids.
Unfortunately, Sameer has grown up, is married, has grown-up problems, and doesn’t welcome the intrusion in his life.
When Sameer and his wife leave him home alone to go for a new year’s party and Pinto gets locked outside the house, he unknowingly embarks on an adventure in Mumbai, meeting a motley group of characters and helping them along as he goes.
Dar tries to bring a fairytale feel to the film, introducing characters you wouldn’t normally find in everyday life. There is a retired Mafia don, an ageing actress, twin brothers who kidnap a child and a dancer who Pinto meets by chance, played by Kalki Koechlin.
There are coincidences galore, and the same set of characters keep running into each other in an otherwise teeming city like Mumbai. It would be easy to suspend your disbelief, if only the characters seemed worth your while.
Unfortunately, they are not, let down by weak writing and haphazard direction. Dar can’t seem to see the film in its entirety, treating it as individual incidents, and trying to string them together at the end. Doesn’t work.
Prateik is wide-eyed as the protagonist, but that’s about it. The rest of the cast seems to be groping about hopelessly, but there isn’t much they can hold on to. Watch this only if you have nothing better to do this weekend.