Monday, August 23, 2010

The Lafangey Parindey Review

Who says critics are useless? Now you don't have to see this movie, unless of course, you derive some satisfaction/pleasure from graphic violence, unforgivably cliched scripts, migraine-inducing songs, and/or repeated sightings of Neil Nitin Mukesh's bare arms.

Make no mistake, this is a film replete with awful acting that glorifies nihilism - this is in-your-face movie-making by people with a moral compass badly askew. The title 'Lafangey Parindey' is an apt metaphor for the production house behind this flick which ultimately bobs and weaves a lot but ends up all empty air. Maybe it's a cultural thing but there's nothing remotely entertaining in 'Lafangey Parindey' - its just an exercise in silliness designed to rob you of Rs 300+. Director Pradeep Sarkar (of Laga Chunari me Daag fame) offers a lame attempt to do what Guy Ritchie has frequently done better - and with far more cinematic artistry. If he earns no other accolades for this directorial effort - a distinct likelihood - Sarkar deserves some kind of award just for assembling the most bizarrely inept cast and ideas of this young century. He's put together this film with the offhand shoddiness of a government worker thinking about his Saturday evening beer. 

It's hard to pinpoint the exact moment when it becomes clear that this lurid, steroidal 'masala entertainer' is certifiably insane (or at least a lot funnier than it means to be), but it's pretty early on. Everyone seems to be sleepwalking through this film. Except for Deepika Padukone, who is such a terrible actress that she couldn't even act like she's sleepwalking. She is so staggeringly awful, such an ordeal to sit through, that it's hard to know where to start talking about it. But even the film's cast is done in by the deathless mediocrity of the production, an assemblage of random camera shots, messy editing, redundant scenes, and witless dialogue as haphazardly stitched together as the flesh on a burn victim's face. In 'Lafangey Parindey', Neil Nitin Mukesh plays Nandu, a yuppie biker who likes to punch folks in the face. So how come he couldn't yank director Sarkar out of his coma with his one-shot? All Neil does is stride around in gelled hair, talk fake tapori and ham to the hilt, deplorably abusing the good will he garnered after surprising everyone with 'Johnny Gaddar'.
Gopi Puthran's script can't quite get a grasp on character depth, yet it also can't quite deliver the cheap thrills such a trashy tale might otherwise provide. The storytelling is so overwrought and misguided, 'Lafangey Parindey' winds up as a colossal car wreck. It doesn't take long to figure out that Deepika, as a blind rollerskating dancer, and Neil Nitin as her doting, blindfolded hero are the most unconvincing team of hired actors in Bollywood history. Really, why bother roping in Deepika for a role in which she's supposed to dance? What's more, Mr Sarkar is so lazy that he doesn't even bother concealing the body double used for the dancing/rollerskating Ballerina scenes. After what seems like an eternity of bludgeoning us into open-jawed bafflement, 'Lafangey Parindey' is best aborted, and flushed away as one of 2010's more unpleasant memories.

You can surely tell 'Lafangey Parindey' has been passed through Sanjib Datta's editing bay one too many times. Style over substance is the norm as the whole film looks like what someone might vomit up after partially digesting Natarajan Subramanian's digitised footage. Eldridge Rodrigues' insistently fussy and grandiose production design mistakes extra-crisp textures, brilliant colors and high contrast backdrops for story atmosphere and style. Yes it's flashy as hell, but amphetamine-fueled methods do not compensate for distinct lack of substance. Sham Kaushal's action all but forces its bulky, twitching mass down your throat until you realise you haven't been entertained but assaulted. 

'Lafangey Parindey' is certainly a front runner for one of the worst mainstream Bollywood releases of the year. It will try your patience and give you a throbbing headache - about all it does with any success. The only people who deserve to see this film are Rahul Mahajan and the CEO of British Petroleum.

First published on on August 19, 2010