Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Bheja Fry / Race

Bheja Fry

Bheja Fry is sort of Anbe Sivam-lite; a film with the same basic storyline but less ambitious about its message. So we have a self-centred, self-absorbed man and a good-hearted, simple man who is initially a thorn in his side but ends up teaching him a few basic lessons about life and love. While Anbe Sivam painted its story on a much larger canvas with its atheist underpinnings and communist messages, Bheja Fry is more modest and takes the comedy route.

Rajat Kapoor plays a rich businessman who gets together with his rich businessman friends every Friday night for some fun. But the fun is at the expense of someone else since each of the friends is supposed to bring along someone who is expected to be the entertainment at the party. When Rajat hears about Vinay Pathak, a government servant who launches into a song given a chance, he calls him over, planning to take him along to the party. But Rajat hurts his back and so is stuck with Vinay at his house.

The film is very funny and keeps us chuckling quite consistently through its short running time. Considering the limited locations and characters, it comes up with enough interesting and innovative ideas to keep the story moving and make us laugh. The way things are mixed up between Sarika and Rajat's ex-girlfriend and the way the income tax segment is handled are especially clever. The themes are a bit adult but the film doesn't resort to slapstick or double entendre and keeps the humor quite clean.

The film belongs to Vinay Pathak. He brings the character to life and gives it the perfect mixture of naievete and goodness. He may drive Rajat up the wall but to us, his simplicity and innocence are quite endearing. Rajat looks the part of the rich businessman and does his part, which is to look increasingly exasperated as the movie proceeds. Sarika, as his wife, is classy and plays it straight. Milind Soman has a supporting role.


If I were to list things that I like in a movie, twists would come pretty close to the top of the list. I love it when a movie takes me by surprise with its plot developments. But Race definitely takes things too far. This is a film loaded with twists but the twists exhaust and confuse us and end up becoming laughable.

It doesn't look like the film's director duo started the film with a finished script in hand. In the name of twists, the film periodically throws up plot developments that simply negate everything that went on before. These developments are then explained away by giving us new information about the past that dramatically alters everything what we saw before. A good twist is based on things that were in plain sight and simply makes us look at them in a new perspective. But the twists here don't surprise us since they are based upon information that we had no chance of knowing. And after the second such twist, the movie turns into a joke as nothing we see can really be taken seriously.

But the twists do ensure that the film's pace never lags. The plot's convolutions keep us engaged and the film definitely can't be called boring. And though the twists themselves are overused, the way some of them are explained is pretty ingenious.


At 12:07 AM, Blogger Bart said...

Beja fry was a very good low budget entertainer. Last year's Khosla ka ghosla was also good.
Last Abbas-Mustan movie I watched was "Humraaz", which was fairly engaging and decent. Then I've stopped. Do try "Taare zameen par" and "Jodha Akbar", from this years'.

At 12:35 AM, Blogger D.E.V said...

Race stumped me with it's twist and turns...too may of it gave me a headache and some unanswered questions. If the director had only had 2-3 twist in the story, it would have made the film much better. The final twist was quite suprising and unexpected regarding Anil's character. Another thing they shouls not have named it "Race" but Triple Cross as all characters are doin that throught the film

At 5:52 AM, Blogger Munimma said...

Anil Kapoor is at an age where he can choose his roles and I have loved all his recent roles (not necessarily movies) - Race, Tashan, Black & White and that murder movie(can't recall the name)

Race had a very unindian feel to it and I loved Vinay Pathak in this movie. Some of the recent movies in Hindi have been interesting - ek chalis ki last local, mithya, manorama 6ft under, dus kahaniyan, etc. They have made some effort to move away from the usual soppy affairs.

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, Hindi movies are miles better than Tamil movies in the last couple years. Seems like this is cyclic. 5-6 years back, Hindi movies sucked and Tamil was far superior.

munimma, only seen Manorama from your list. Manorama is very good, though the original (Chinatown *ing Jack Nicolson) is still better. Johnny Gadaar is pretty good. And heard 'Being Cyrus' is too.

Oh well, as long as there is good cinema, who cares ...

At 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bheja fry - xerox copy of "dinner party"
Race - copy of "wild things".

yes hindi is getting better at copying..
though some rare originals are good

At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, the film Bheja Fry is a remake of is "The Dinner Game," not "The Dinner Party."

At 10:10 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

bart, yeah i did see and enjoy 'khosla ka ghosla'. a real feel-good movie :)

skanda, just triple cross? i thot there were more than 3 :)

munimma, 'my wife's murder'? but yeah, he's been in some interesting roles recently. u could add 'welcome' to the list too :)

prakash, have heard lot of good things about 'manorama'. but have seen both 'johny gaddar' and 'being cyrus'. enjoyed both of them :)

nathan, 'race' was a copy of 'wild things' in spirit(as in a # of wild twists) but not in story right?

ravi, thanx :)


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