Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Vicky Donor: Sperm donation can be funny
You have to hand it to Shoojit Sircar and Juhi Chaturvedi – the duo have made a Bollywood film about a topic like sperm donation without a double entendre. This also speaks volumes about Chaturvedi’s skill (she wrote story, screenplay and dialogue), because ‘Vicky Donor” is hands down the funniest film of the year so far.
Sircar and Chaturvedi, both from the advertising world, address issues such as sperm donation, infertility, stereotyping and even the aching loneliness that sets in after a spouse dies young, with such light-hearted humour and panache that you cannot help but applaud their effort.
Ayushmann Khurrana plays Vicky Arora, a rather dashing young man who lives in a “refugee colony” (referring to refugees who came in from Pakistan during the Partition and set up homes) in New Delhi. He’s unemployed and lives with his rather sprightly grandmother and widowed mother (played to high-pitched perfection by Dolly Ahluwalia), who runs a beauty parlour and nags her son to get a real job.
But he’s too busy admiring himself in the mirror, going pub-hopping and playing cricket to notice. He only takes note when a middle-aged gentleman starts following him around. The gentleman, it turns out, is Baldev Chaddha (Annu Kapoor), an infertility expert who is on the lookout for quality sperm. Convinced that a hot-blooded young Punjabi male would be ideal for his clients, Doctor Chadha tries to convince Vicky this could be a viable profession, but Vicky laughs it off.
After much persuasion, he agrees to make the donation, and when the remuneration turns out to be better than expected, Vicky continues but doesn’t tell anyone. Things change when he falls in love with a shy banker Ashima (Yami Gautam). He doesn’t have the heart to tell her what he does for fear that she won’t accept it.
Chaturvedi’s dialogue is sprinkled liberally with “Delhi” words and slang, and if you’ve lived in the city, you will find yourself laughing out loud. A word of warning though – there’s a lot of Punjabi spoken, and if you aren’t familiar with the language, you might find yourself a bit lost.
The characters, especially Vicky and Ashima’s family, and their stereotypes (Bengalis only eat fish and North Indians don’t remove the price tags from their clothes) are identifiable.
The performances, right from the actor who plays the nurse in Chaddha’s clinic, to Kapoor and Khurrana, are impeccable for the most part. A word about Khurrana, who in his debut film, exudes a charm and confidence that instantly endears you to his character.
Of course, ”Vicky Donor” isn’t without its flaws — the ending is too contrived, and there are one too many cinematic liberties taken, especially in the second half.
But these are minor glitches in what is otherwise a very enjoyable film. This one might surprise you, so give it a chance.