Short, but not sweet

Short, but not sweet

Short, but not sweet

Bajatey Raho
Hindi (U/A)  ¬¬
Director: Shashant Shah
Cast: Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Dolly Ahluwalia, Ravi Kissen, Tusshar Kapoor, Vishakha Singh, Husaan Saad

What do you say to a film which promises you that “there is always a wrong way to do the right thing”? Most would sit up and blurt out: “Show me how!” Director Shashant Singh’s third offering, Bajatey Raho, was supposed to do just that.

But one expected the film to be as engaging as the storyline, despite being a little hackneyed by now thanks to flicks like Khosla Ka Ghosla. Instead, we have a film that was treated with some respect in the script department and on the editing table, but not so much elsewhere.

Like all revenge stories, we have here a rag-tag group of people trying to scam a dirty millionaire (Sabbarwal, played with a relished sliminess by Ravi Kissen), who, by a single act of dirty business, has not only caused the death of the respected patriarch of the Baweja family as well as his reputation for honesty, but also jailed a young Muslim housewife, for crimes neither of them committed.

As a result, we have Mrs Baweja (Dolly Ahluwalia, so comfortable in the role of the scheming yet golden-hearted Punjabi matriarch that she would give the Johars’ or Chopras’ reel moms reel with her temerity) and son Sukhi (Tusshar Kapoor in another of his “meh” roles) team up with Mintoo “paaji” (Vinay Pathak as the quiet but brilliant Muslim husband of the jailed housewife), who seems to be a human chameleon of sorts, and the ultimate “jugaadu” Balli (Ranvir Shorey), though we are never actually told what his motivation was in joining the caper.

We also have a young, precocious Kabootar (Husaan Saad), the youngest Baweja who proves as much a lynchpin to the group’s plans as Sukhi’s love interest Manpreet (Vishakha Singh, who seems to be slowly slipping into the role of the quintessential Delhiite Punjabi girl, be it bold like she was here, or a bit reticent, like in Fukrey). And then there’s Sabbarwal’s assistant Bagga (Brijendra Kala in a role that will surely win him accolades as a character actor), whom the industrialist treats like anything from a doormat to a dog.

Put them all together, and you have the potential for a revenge drama crackling with situational humour, but instead, Shashant Singh presents a film that’s gonna leave you really doubting whether the climax lived up to the promise of the entire premise. Spoiler alert: Where’s the must-be-there nod to Murphy’s law: “If several things can go wrong, they will”?

Massive talent, in the form of Vinay Pathak and Ranvir Shorey, is wasted, and the less we talk about the songs, the better. The only thing remarkable about the numbers is that they stretch even a 107-minute film. This is definitely not worth a multiplex watch.