There is hardly any romance in this deceptive Gujarati movie.
The first thought comes to your mind while watching this 160 odd minutes long movie, is whether the director wanted to make this film in Hindi and at the last moment he changed his mind and made it in Gujarati! The protagonist looks like straight away from Yash Raj Camp, too many Hindi dialogues, more than one situation reminds you of hit Bollywood films, a constant reminder of our culture and sanskaar are the few elements to give you that feeling. But at the end of the day, good music, nice camera work, and a few reliable performances save the grace.
Candyfloss wala love
Dev Patel (Malhar Pandya) is self-proclaimed ‘romance king’ happy go lucky guy of Adalaj. Besides playing ‘Tom & Jerry’ with his father Karsan Patel (Shekhar Shukla), he chats, falls in love and breaks it up on Facebook, rides his ‘Harley’, roams topless, pats horses and sleeps on khatla (a traditional cot) outside of his bungalow. One day, Dhiraj Patel (Dharmesh Vyas), an old friend of Dev’s father, comes from nowhere and gives an offer which Dev can’t refuse. Dev has to go to ‘US Of A’ with Dhiraj Patel’s young arrogant daughter Maahi (Divya Misra) to take care of her. Well, things almost go on the same old path which once paved by Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar.
You are a Gujarati movie, accept it
I failed to understand why this movie ‘Rom Com’ tries too hard to be a Hindi film or say non-Gujarati urban film. First, there’s no title in Gujarati script. The only two words you see in Gujarati script in whole movie are ‘pakko patel’, written on protagonist Dev’s t-shirt (he has a nice wardrobe, by the way!). The Movie starts with long Hindi dialogues and this non-Gujaratiness is spread all over the movie. There are scenes after scene which remind you of Hindi movies or deliberately inserted famous dialogues, only to justify Dev’s obsession with Bollywood movies. Take a few: Dev prays in a church and talks to Jesus, Devs says, ‘my name is Dev, naam to suna hi hoga’, ‘hum ek baar jite hai, ek baar marte hai…’, Dev and his foreigner girlfriend talk without understanding each other’s language… sound familiar? Well, not your fault!
There are too many dialogues in the movie which sound like a straight translation from Hindi. See these: te aatli badhi pi raakhi chhe, gusso thuki do ne, tamara vagar dil nathi laagtu, tu pan shu yaad raakhish… Why couldn’t you find good Gujarati substitutes of them?
The way this film portrayed Gujarati clichés like dhokla for breakfast, USA obsession, poor English, I felt this film seems to be an outsider’s take on Gujarati culture.
Besides trying to be a non-Gujarati, this film tries too hard to be urban as well. The lead actress wears shorter than short dresses, she smokes, drinks and uses far too many cuss words. She may be the first woman in Gujarati cinema to utter ‘C’ word (while ‘F… off’ becomes her takiya kalaam!) All these remind us of our cousins and friends, who go to US on 10-15 days tour and come back with a fake accent!
The lead actor Malhar Pandya is the charmer in this movie. He has a nice physique which can give complex to any Bollywood hero. But besides this, he has perfect comic timing and looks very natural when in typical Amdavadi words like ‘kankodo’ and ‘be yaar’! But he has often crossed the territory of loudness while appearing bubbly. The actress Divya Misra, on the other hand looks completely artificial. The movie spends too much time in nok jhok between Malhar and Divya, thus they couldn’t show the softer side of Divya’s character. So, the sudden change of her heart looks knee jerk. Saddest thing is there’s almost zero chemistry between the lead pair.
In the acting department, performances by a few senior actors save the day. Veterans like Shekhar Shukla, Dharmesh Vyas and Darshan Jariwala hold the pillar of acting very firmly. They give very warm and homely feeling. In contrast, young comedian Maulik Nayak is fast becoming ‘lord of loudness’ and being typecast. Had his scenes been avoided, this film could have easily been edited to 15-20 minutes.
Music to ears
Youthful music is the backbone of this film. You can find big names like Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal, Niraj Shridhar and Javed Ali in the playlist. If feels good to hear Gujarati lines from them, but poor pronunciation punctures the mood. But it is young Darshan Rawal who steals your heart with his tracks like ‘Pahela Varsaad’ and ‘Tu ne hu’. You want to keep playing them in a loop. ‘Rom Com’ is a good album.
Treat to eyes
The cinematography is so good in the movie, that at a couple of times it gets confusing to differentiate between Ahmedabad and America! Beautiful locales of USA are rich and eye candy. But overuse of stock montages of the same become repetitive.
Cliché writing, easily predictable story and artificial acting can’t remain hidden under good music and nice packaging. We, as a Gujarati audience, want to see some fresh original stuff in this new wave of our cinema. Please don’t offer us same old stuff which we have been seeing for quite a long time in Hindi flicks.
Rating: **1/2 (Two and a half stars)
(Published in DeshGujarat.Com)
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