Star cast: Ajay Devgan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Paresh Rawal.
Plot: Paresh Rawal comes visiting Ajay and Konkona, a happily married couple. He refuses to leave their house for weeks together and makes a nuisance of himself. Ajay and Konkona try everything under the sun to drive him away.
What’s Good: The comedy in parts; the acting of the three lead players.
What’s Bad: The repetitive screenplay, the overdose of the toilet humour, and the music.
Verdict: With such a downmarket title, it is actually, ‘Audience tum kab aaoge?’.
Loo break: The bhajan songs.
Warner Bros. Pictures and Wide Frame Films’ Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge? is a comedy film about a guest who refuses to leave, much to the dismay of his hosts.
Lambodar (Paresh Rawal) comes to Bombay from Gorakhpur and lands up at the house of Puneet (Ajay Devgan), his nephew. Puneet and his working wife, Munmun (Konkona Sen Sharma), had least expected the guest and were, in fact, not even aware that they had an uncle called Lambodar. Trying to be the ideal hosts, they conceal their annoyance and behave well with him and extend their hospitality to the fullest to make him feel comfortable. Lambodar, on the other hand, irritates them with his crude and crass acts and actions. He has his good side too – among other things, he brushes up their child’s Hindi, much to the joy of his teacher.
Puneet and Munmun begin to despair when Lambodar refuses to leave. Driven to their wits’ end, they use different tricks to make him leave but somehow, nothing works as the thickskinned Lambodar refuses to budge. What happens thereafter is revealed in the climax.
The story (Ashwini Dhir) may be thin but it is one which every family can identify with. Therefore, by its very nature, the film is a fare for the family audience. However, the screenplay is replete with crude jokes and toilet humour (Lambodar keeps polluting the atmosphere by passing gas, and Munmun keeps spraying room freshner thereafter), which may not go down too well with the ladies and family audience. In that sense, the screenplay, penned by Robin Bhatt, Ashwini Dhir and Tushar Hiranandani, is not very enjoyable. But it must be mentioned here that the crude humour may find favour with a section of the mass audience. One problem with the screenplay is that it becomes repetitive after a while. Similar jokes are cracked by the characters in the drama so that the viewer starts feeling bored. Some scenes also look too contrived to be true. Agreed, the comedy in the film is exaggerated but even the exaggeration can’t explain why Puneet and Munmun are embarrassed when they are caught by the police in a raid on couples involved in a prostitution racket in the hotel they have checked into. Why they don’t try to convince the police that they are a married couple instead of hiding their faces behind veils (as if they were, in fact, indulging in prostitution) is not clearly explained. Had this scene been of a few seconds, it would’ve still been enjoyable but it goes on for a few minutes, making the audience hunt for an answer to the obvious question that crops up in their minds. Sadly, there are no answers offered by the writers.
Another mistake which the three writers have committed is to make the atithi (guest) appear like a noble soul rather than just a hanger-on, by making him very concerned for the good of the hosts. This confuses the audience and comes in the way of their enjoyment of the comedy which pokes fun at the guest because he is shown to be both, irritating and noble. The writers probably did not want to send the signal that guests are a bad species but, in doing so, they have diluted the comic impact of the drama. Even if they had wanted to not present the goodness of the guest, they should’ve done it far more cleverly. However, the way they’ve incorporated the scenes showing Lambodar’s good qualities, it looks like they suddenly decided to convert a mass comic entertainer into a social film with a message. Unfortunately, the marriage doesn’t work if only because the comedy and the social message have not been juxtaposed intelligently enough.
It is because of the aforementioned reasons that the comedy has limited appeal. Among the plus points are the opening commentary and the animated sketches of the characters to explain the film’s theme and the way in which Lambodar asks Munmun to cook food for him. Dialogues (Ashwini Dhir) are witty and funny.
Perhaps, the biggest drawback of the film is that its conception and making are more suitable for a television serial. Rather than an all-encompassing and free-flowing story, the drama looks like an assemblage of comic episodes. Also, the film’s title and promotion are not too upmarket because of which the patronage of the youth and in the multiplexes will be limited and below the mark.
Ajay Devgan looks handsome in his clean-shaven avatar and acts well. Konkana Sen Sharma is wonderfully natural but she could do with a little more concentration on her costumes and glamour quotient. Paresh Rawal performs pretty naturally. Satish Kaushik leaves an impact as the film director. Akhilendra Mishra impresses with a fine performance. Sanjay Mishra gets limited scope but is good, all the same. The lady playing the domestic help in Ajay Devgan’s house entertains. Viju Khote provides decent support. The rest of the artistes lend good support.
Ashwini Dhir’s direction, like his script, is of the kind that will appeal to a section of the masses but will not find much favour with the youth and the classes. If he is to make his mark as a director, Dhir has to get over his television serial hangover. Pritam’s music is far from good. Except the parody of the ‘Beedi jalai le’ song from Omkara, the other songs lack appeal. Also, the bhajans look out of place in the film and will bore the audience. The title track, composed by Amit Mishra, is average. Choreography (Raju Khan, Ahmed Khan and Ravi Botalje) is routine. Aseem Bajaj’s camerawork is very nice. Editing (by Dharmendra Sharma) lacks the crispness. Jai Singh Nijjar’s action scenes are functional. Production and technical values are ordinary.
On the whole, Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge? is an ordinary fare and will not be able to make much of a mark at the ticket windows. It may make a section of the audience laugh but that section would not be big enough to yield profits to the producers/distributors. Business in single-screen cinemas would be fair but that in multiplexes will not be upto the mark.