Star cast: Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Aditi Vasudev, Archit Krishna, Akhilendra Mishra.
Plot: Rishi Kapoor is a middle-class school teacher in Delhi, who wants to buy a car for the family. But where will he get the money from?
What’s Good: The performances of all the artistes; the realistic dialogues.
What’s Bad: The single-track story; the television serial-like feel of the film.
Verdict: It will be appreciated by the critics and connoisseurs of good cinema but will fail at the box-office.
Loo break: Not really!
Walt Disney Pictures and Planman Motion Pictures’ Do Dooni Chaar is a slice-of-life film about a principled school teacher, Santosh Duggal (Rishi Kapoor), who is forever struggling to lead a comfortable life. His wife, Kusum (Neetu Kapoor), is a homemaker. They have two children, Payal (Aditi Vasudev) and Sandy (Archit Krishna). They live inDelhi.
Duggal has received an income-tax refund of a few thousand rupees and so, there’s excitement in the family as each one has a different take on how the money should be spent. But all plans are put to rest when Duggal’s sister, Urmi (Supriya Shukla), telephones to invite the family to a marriage in her in-laws’ family. The sister demands that Santosh Duggal come with his family in a car rather than the scooter they have as the car would make her in-laws treat her with more respect.
Since he can’t afford a car, Kusum forces him to borrow the neighbour, Farooqui’s (Akhilendra Mishra) car. The neighbour grudgingly gives them his car for going to Meerut to attend the wedding. While the car turns out to be a very expensive proposition for the Duggals, it, nevertheless, makes the in-laws of the sister treat them (Duggals) and her with far more respect. Anyway, Payal bangs the car just as she is parking it outside the owner’s home on their return to Delhi. A fight ensues between Duggal, the car owner and his wife who spits venom. That is when Duggal, humiliated as he feels, decides to buy a car for his family, under any circumstances.
Then begins the real nightmare. Buying a car is definitely not easy for a school teacher who can barely make two ends meet. His requests for loan from his school as well as the coaching class he teaches in are turned down. He tries his luck in other ways too but finally, when all tricks fail, his wife and he decide to cheat just once. Duggal is now ready to increase the marks he would give to a weak student in exchange for money. While his daughter accompanies him to accept the bribe money, the son is hopping mad as he is scared, the operation could be recorded live on camera as a sting. What happens thereafter? Does Duggal spoil his spotless record or does he not? Do the Duggals get the car after all?
The film’s biggest plus points are the realistic and fun-filled dialogues and the brilliant performances of all the actors. The first half, especially, shows the travails of a middle-class family in a metropolitan city very beautifully and realistically. The flavour of the Delhi city has also been brought out excellently, whether through the dialogues or the locations or the costumes. Since the story line is thin and the film moves on a single track, the second half becomes a little monotonous and gives the impression of a television serial. The climax looks hurried and a bit too convenient. In other words, it doesn’t go well with the rest of the drama. There’s one more point. Even though the film has the Khosla Ka Ghosla! feel to it, what will not make it a commercial success is the fact that unlike in the earlier film, no larger issue has been addressed. The story, therefore, remains one of a particular family only. All in all, Habib Faisal’s story is good but more suited for a TV serial.Screenplay (penned by Habib Faisal and Rahil Qazi) is interesting but only upto a point. Habib Faisal’s dialogues, of course, are first-rate.
Rishi Kapoor does a fantastic job of the harried school teacher, bogged down by the sky-rocketing prices on the one hand and the growing demands of his family members on the other. He looks, walks, talks and acts exactly like a middle-class teacher would. He deserves the highest praise for getting into the skin of the character. Neetu Kapoor proves the perfect foil to Rishi Kapoor. She stages a wonderful comeback and is so comfortable in front of the camera in her deglamorised role that it’s a delight to watch her play Kusum. Aditi Vasudev is a fine actress and she performs exceedingly well. Archit Krishna is also superb. His IPL dialogue is very funny and brings the house down with laughter. Akhilendra Mishra leaves a mark. As his wife Salma, Natasha Rastogi also acts with effortless ease. Supriya Shukla is as natural as natural can be. Avtar Sahani (Urmi’s father-in-law in Meerut) is good.
Habib Faisal’s direction, like his script, belies the fact that he makes his debut with this film. His narration is interesting and goes well with the script. However, since his film is uni-dimensional, it does get boring at places, especially post-interval. The background song, which comes at different points in the film, has been well-written (Manoj Muntashir) and is also fairly well-composed (Anjan Meet and Ankit Meet).Camerawork (Anshuman Mahaley) is good. Aarti Bajaj’s editing is sharp. Technical aspects are fair.
On the whole, Do Dooni Chaar is a fun film but not commercial. It will get more critical acclaim than box-office rewards. Although its positive word of mouth will see collections growing, the pick-up won’t be enough. Its dull promotion (poor publicity designs) and weak opening will only add to its tale of woes.