Mumbai se Aaya Mera Dost (2003)
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Lara Datta, Chunkey Pandey
Director: Apoorva Lakhia
Music Director: Anu Malik
Nutshell: turgid, pointless and boring film with a serious Lagaan wannabe complex
Apoorva Lakhia is from the new breed of directors…young, experienced in the modalities of film making having assisted Ang Lee on “the Ice Storm” and then also working on Lagaan which sets him up on a pedestal of sorts. You expect something fresh and certainly the promos had my interest. However Mumbai se aaya mera dost turns out to be a film grossly lacking in every department with the only redeeming feature being Anu Malik’s rousing score.
Kanji (Abhishek Bachchan) works in Mumbai for Sanju (Chunkey Pandey) and is gifted a television which Kanji brings to his grandfather, who lives in a remote village in Rajasthan which has been devoid of electricity until recently. The novelty of the television enthrals the villagers and they shun everything to simply watch the wonders of TV. This causes the village priest to spew venom as no one show sup at the Mandir and donate moolah for him to survive on. So he decides to incite the village Thakur against Kanji. Kanji in the meantime has set his eyes on a buxom belle Kesar (Lara Datta), seen at first gyrating to the mtv sounds of “saiyyan”. Despite the fact that this is a small village, Kanji does not come to know that she is in fact the Thakur’s sister until later. And Kesar being the livewire that she is, falls all hook line and sinker for the servant Kanji. Now the Thankur is inflamed and at interval we are set for the usual clichéd thakur against villager contest seen in many films and worthy of a huge yawn and nothing else. That in a nutshell is the story and one that really stretches the viewer’s patience to the point of painful ennui and only the die hard film goer would be able to digest this stale and meandering film.
The film has a major Lagaan hangover. Apoorva Lakhia seems to have wandered onto the Lagaan locations and picked up three or four of the supporting cast and knit a story around one central idea. Lakhia has no story to work with. It’s a one trick pony this one and sadly, although the initial idea is good, one of the modern technology playing havoc with the lives of simple village folk, it is projected in the crassest way with pathetic, in fact sometimes downright crude and vulgar humour leaving a very bad taste in your mouth. Lakhia brings not an iota of originality to the film neither does he seem to know what the film should be about. time is wasted on pathetic comic interludes which don’t even raise a titter. There is not even a hint of any potential here but then, who knows.
Abhishek Bachchan is not bad at all in a role which requires him for most of the first half of the film to sit around watching TV. The rest of the proceedings are so predictable and he goes through the motions in a perfunctory way. Lara Datta is simply too sophisticated to be the village babe and makes no attempt to be anything other than that. Its your classic 60s asha parekh village belle, all mascara and make up, bursting into song and dance whenever the opportunity provides itself. Chunky Pandey is an embarrassment. Anu Malik comes up with an excellent score which is sadly wasted in this hideous bore of a film. Possibly the most meaningless and boring film of the year and one that will be hard to beat. One to avoid with a barge pole.