'Dasvidaniya': Understated and Tedious!
Review by Deepa Gahlot
Thirty-seven-year old Amar Kaul (Vinay Pathak) is sitting forlornly in a bar, attempting the first drink of his life, because he has just been told he is dying of cancer. He is joined by a flamboyant stranger Jagtap (Ranvir Shorey), who is shocked to discover that Amar has survived the years without booze, cigarettes, or sex or anything that he (Jagtap) considers pleasurable. "You are better off dead," he says scornfully, without sympathy.
After the encounter, however, Amar, who lives in a cluttered suburban apartment with his deaf, TV-addicted mother (Sarita Joshi), gets himself an alter-ego that looks like him but dresses like Jagtap, makes a list of things to do before he dies, and sets out to do everything on the list—his list is also as colourless as him.
The modest, hopelessly submissive man, first gets a swanky red car, then chucks his boring accounting job and his mean, gluttonous boss (Saurabh Shukla), learns to play the guitar, goes to meet his childhood sweetheart (Neha Dhupia), makes a 'foreign trip' to meet his old buddy Rajiv (Rajat Kapoor) and reunites with his estranged brother (Gaurav Gera).
First-time director Shashant Shah, taking his idea from 'Bucket List' and '50 Things To Do before I Die', creates an understated little film with moments of humour and poignancy—but so understated that it often tips into tedium. Think 'Anand', for instance, and there's a movie that made you laugh and cry. 'Dasvidaniya' does neither, but to its credit, there are scenes that move the viewer to the plight of an ordinary man, who just never got a chance to really live.
He doesn't manage much happiness even when he is determined to, but at least he is able to tick off all the items on his 'To Do' list, even if 'love' means a few days spent with a Russian hooker (Svitlana Manoylo), who saves him from committing suicide in despair.
What Shah has accomplished is get together an ensemble cast of actors who are familiar with each other – Pathak, Kapoor, Shorey, Shukla, Brijendra Kala-- and made a small, fairly watchable film that may not merit an expensive multiplex ticket, but would make for good home viewing when the DVD is out.
Pathak is a fine actor, even though he overdoes the meek, loner bit and, so far, lacks the charisma to play the lead part and one in which he is in every frame of the film ; but he is surrounded by actors who help him carry off the most mundane scenes—like the eager car salesgirl (Purbi Joshi), the guitar teacher (Joy Fernandes), and the mother, who goes into denial when she hears of his death. Nicely shot, the film has a pleasing music score by Kailash Kher. And the end credits when all the actors talk of what they'd like to do before they die is a sweet touch.
Source: India Syndicate
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