Rules – Pyar ka Superhit Formula (2003)
Cast: Milind Soman, Meera Vasudhevan, Tanuja
Director: Parvati Balgopalan
Music Director: Sandesh Shandilya
Nutshell: low budget, “no banner” production has a certain freshness and vitality
Rules continues the trend of the “smaller” movie, not expensively made, with a fresh cast and devoid of the usual clichés embedded in Bollywood, yet woven into a sweet little amusing bollywood tale.
Radha [Meera Vasudevan] works for a fashion photographer and has a kind size crush on supermodel, Vikram [Milind Soman], who in turn has a bimbette girlfriend Maggie (Namrata Barua). Vikram dreams of opening a restaurant whilst his bimbette girlfriend wants to make it big in films. Amongst this is poor ol Radha, nursing feelings of love since the age of 14 for a man who would, in all probability, not cast a glimpse at her, ordinary and normal as she is compared to the trendy and dapper Maggie. Radha confides in her grandmother (Tanuja) who comes up with five rules to woo a man successfully which Radha sets about using as her modus operandi.
This sets up a series of amusing encounters as Radha goes about trying to woo Vikram, often against how she feels but following her grandmother’s tenets on how to win a man. It works and Radha manages to win Vikram over but then the pangs of conscience get to her and she reveals all to him. Believing that she never really loved him, the duo break up.
Its not much of a story and the film is short by bollywood standards, coming in at less than two hours. Where the film falters is the when Radha decides to reveal to Vikram that she was only following the “Rules” and then breaks off the “romance”. Not only is there no reason for this, the film loses some of its zing and what follows is a rather flighty and somewhat convenient clichéd end to the story. That however should not detract for the whole product which by and large is a light frothy film, not aiming to provide anything but an everyday tale done in a realistic and fairly charming way.
Parvati Balagopalan shows a command on the medium and intersperses the story with the anecdotes from people from different walks in life, a housewife, a mistress, a gay man which blend into the film in a documentary style. Stylistically, she is very successful in conjuring up a product which is engaging and .pleasantly executed. What does let the proceedings down is the wafer thin plot which amusing as it is, begins to fray at the seams after a while. That is unfortunate because the potential shown in the first half tends to remain somewhat unfulfilled.
Milind Soman produces as well as acts in the film and gives a decent account of himself. Vikram is played as a normal guy, looking for the simpler things in life rather than the arc lights and it is a refreshing change from your over the top characters that one is accustomed to in Bollywood. Meera Vasudhevan is breezy and very believable and brings a breath of fresh air to the film. Her performance is not all about eye shadow and perfect clothes but is very much of a normal girl of today, nursing a crush that refuses to go away. But the film belongs to none other than Tanuja who is simply superb in the role of grandmother. Always considered a powerhouse performer but falling short on the product, she has the role of a life time here and plays comedy to an absolute T. For her alone, this is an utter pleasure to see.
Music is Ok and goes with the flow of the film although none of the songs really remain in memory. On the whole, another example of hopefully better things to come in Bollywood. If you want to spend a pleasant untaxing 100 minutes, this one is certainly worth your consideration.