Some fine actors, who know how to look at home even when placed in outlandish circumstances, carry this quaint tale of love, death, separation, resurrection and reparation to the level of a fairly engaging comedy.
Films about near-death and after-life have a tendency to be flippant in tone while showing a world beyond the one that we know. It's the same fear of the unknown that makes us laugh loudly when we are in a pitch-dark room looking for an exit.
This romcom makes its way out of the comfort zone of a love triangle (actually, quadrangle, and then one more angle added somewhere down the line), gets sassy about laughing all the way to after-life and then comes down to earth with a soft thud.
There are no sharp curves or twists in the plot. Even when Purab Kohli goes to a place close to heaven, his dialogues with his hosts up there (Brijendra Kala and gang) resemble a high-school debate on how to fill up the admission form rather than an existential discourse.
'Fatso' is at best a sweet harmless comedy about Purab Kohli's character almost dying and returning to earth to assume his obese friend Ranvir Shorey's body. Yup, that's it.
The main challenge in the narration is to convince the grieving girlfriend (Gul Panag, sweet and restrained) that Purab is not who he looks like though he now looks like Ranvir Shorey, 40 kilos fatter than usual. The complications are kept at a bare minimum. The love quadrangle is played out at a manageable octave, which you know, will ensure a comfortable ending for all.
One can see that the narration comes to a dead-end, no pun intended. Left with no precise way to conclude the love triangle, the film simply asks Ranvir to take over. He delivers a discernibly improvised I-love-life monologue which ends with a cute kiss with Gul. That's how you shut all protest up when life threatens to get complicated.
You simply shoo away all the misgivings and the dark patches that present themselves in the course of life and cinema. And you simply celebrate the magic of the here-and-now.
That's what 'Fatso' does with the least amount of fuss. It is not a film that pushes far enough in any direction, dark or light. But manages to make sufficient space in its range of vision to ensure that the characters don't appear contrived.
There are no laugh-out-loud or sob-out-hard moments in the film. The tragedy of the girl losing her lover on the eve of their marriage is drowned in a pool of mock, surreal situations created more from a sense of mischief than profundity. But the film is fun to watch. It makes the right moves and noises. No one speaks out of turn. And you don't come away from the film offended in any detail.
Technically, the presentation and packaging are reasonably neat. The film is shot in apartments rather than on sets. That helps to make you believe these are real people. Not actors who have just mugged their lines on the sets.
'Fatso' is a natural, sweet, tangy and tender rom-com about a near-dead lover and a pretender. A just-right ensemble cast makes the proceedings look larger than laugh.
Don't go looking for 'It's A Wonderful Life' and you may come away quite happy with this film.
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