Saturday review

Idiosyncrasies — when handled with the kind of humour that doesn’t overwhelm you,tickles everyday profanities into living,crazy...

Written by PiyasreeDasgupta | Published:January 10, 2009 3:05 am

Film: The President Is Coming
Director: Kunaal Roy Kapoor
Cast: Konkona Sen Sharma,Shernaz Patel,Ira Dubey,Namit Das,Vivek Gomber,Satchit Puranik,Anand Tiwari,Shivani Tanksale
Rating: *******
Running at: Inox (Forum,City Centre,Swabhumi)

Idiosyncrasies — when handled with the kind of humour that doesn’t overwhelm you,tickles everyday profanities into living,crazy,little ideas,questions sanity,and makes jokers out of pristine stereotypes — can outdo the most talented storytellers. Kunaal Roy Kapoor’s,is a case in point. The opening credits call it a ‘fake documentary’ and the movie leaves you with a feeling that you are watching something that could be a mix of a docu drama and a street play.

The film revolves around a situation. A situation where six people,shortlisted for a contest to choose a ‘young Indian’ who would shake hands with President George W Bush,are put together for ‘gruelling’ rounds of elimination — the American Way,says a character. And just when you wonder how plausible is ‘democratic voting’ an idea in this situation,the director clarifies what the American way is — the way of reality TV. Incisive streaks of humour like this actually makes a motley crew of characters scheming,crying,laughing,thinking or simply loafing around the most engaging things to watch on big screen.

Kapoor takes up stereotypes — the intellectual novelist,the loud stock broker,the uber-cool accent trainer,the business mogul’s stylish wannabe daughter,the nerdy engineer and the rusty idealist social worker — and deftly delves into the startling paradoxes that make stereotypes the best cover-ups ever. Add to that the caustic subtexts of the American Dream,the hypocrisies of an apparently secular,liberal leader,and Kapoor’s film is a crisp socio-political statement waiting to burst on you.

The director doesn’t take sides when it comes to the characters and their convictions,but treats their oddities with such delicate a respect that it becomes hard for the audience not to love each of them despite their flaws.

Peformances,predictably,are top notch. It’s difficult to pick a favourite as each actor almost lives his/her character on screen. For example Ira Dubey — she looks so adorably unreal,like most spoilt,lost rich kids that you want to give a whack on her head to sort her out. Or Vivek Gomer as an accent trainer and an illegal immigrant deported to India whose nonchalant Yankee attitude hides deeper hurt within. Or Anand Tiwari as a weird,loud,tactless stockbroker,who eats,lives and sleeps stocks.

After The President Is Coming,if you feel a little insecure about being yourself,I’ll not be blaming you!

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