Pyaar ka Punchnama has nonstop bust-your-gut funny material that will make your face hurt with laughter. Writer-director Luv Ranjan have made a film that should qualify as a date movie for guys, but unlike most of the lowbrow Hindi comedies in theaters these days, this one isn't quite a carp.
PKP is an irreverent, raucous comedy that is gleefully crass - the funniest moment is a six minute long profanity-laden monologue on nagging women belted out at 3000 decibels as a throw-away joke. Another scene treats us with a character’s devilishly possessive girlfriend seducing him to let her accompany him on a Goa trip that was planned by his friends to recapture the hedonism of their uncommitted days. These moments aren't mildly funny or chuckle funny but downright hysterical, infused with ferociously coarse, go-for-broke sensibility. And every ounce of the film’s success can be attributed to its three male stars - Kartikeya Tiwari, Rayo Bhakhirta and Divyendu Sharma, who manage to respectably pull off this otherwise ridiculously structured comedy.
I must admit that the trailers of Pyaar ka Punchnama slightly misrepresented the final product – it’s not the least bit a sex comedy. The elements of a first-love plot with all its complications are not new, but the charecterisations here are just too darn compelling. Here we have Rajat (Tiwari), Chaudhary (Bhakirtha) and Liquid (Sharma), a trio with an ‘Office Space’ hangover desperate to find love. Chaudhary hooks up with the sassy Neha (Nushrat Bharucha), Rajat finds the saucy Riya (Sonalli) and the shy, good-hearted Liquid has the hots for Charu (Ishita), a girl in his office. The plot thickens when Chaudhary moves in with Neha who soon turns into a niggling, possessive, conniving witch. Meanwhile Rajat’s girl refuses to break contact with her ex boyfriend. And Charu turns out to be a manipulative vixen who uses Liquid’s earnestness to her advantage and treats him like a doormat.
Yes there is some drama, but it is never jarring, in fact the subtle shifting of relationships is beautifully realised here. Even the emotionally charged scenes are pretty much character-driven soap opera without resorting to tackiness. If anything, Pyaar ka Punchnama will have a certain appeal to a certain audience - namely other guys in their mid-twenties in crappy jobs struggling to learn about love and life.
Divyendu Sharma makes acting like a moron seem like a natural and endearing byproduct of middle-class Indian befuddlement. He excels at dignity-free merriment and can deliver even the most average of punch lines with enough lunacy to merit a laugh. Rayo Bhakhirta unleashes genial lunkheadedness. Kartikeya Tiwari is affably low key. Ishita and Sonallii are passable, but Nushrat Bharucha is brilliantly unlikeable. If Love Sex aur Dhoka weren’t enough, Pyaar ka Punchnama gives us another reason to follow the career of this gifted young actress. Sudhir Chaudhary’s cinematography is eye-popping, but if there’s one thing that’s grating about the film it is the overindulgence in musical cues. A salsa number between Tiwari and Sonallii makes no sense either, but that’s just moaning.
Pyaar ka Punchnama is one of the best, most satisfying comedies to come along in a while. For its subversive genre, it is a fantastic reminder that when you get right down to it, finding The One and actually getting her to accept you the way you are is hilariously difficult.
First published in DNA