Director: Ashima Chibber
IE Rating: ** 1/2
A dulhan getting jiggy on her own sangeet night? Its been known to happen. Especially when the bride belongs to a typical Punjabbi (double b,emphasis mine) family full of boister and cheer.
In a delicious sequence from Mere Dad Ki Maruti,we are presented with a bride doing a fully-clothed shimmy which is just risqué enough to cause the following: the guests slack-jawed,the groom trying to hide his face,the brides brother gulping a little,and the brides mummyji beaming with pride at the near-scandalous moves.
This gaana-bajaana encompasses without saying a word,what the movie takes nearly two too-long hours to say. That Punjabbis are hearty and full of heart is an old Hindi movie theme.
That the Khullars of Chandigarh,headed by the rotund papaji (Ram Kapoor),are so intent on making their daughters doli go off smoothly that they intend gifting their son-in-law a fully-loaded brand new Maruti (or,to give it the right intonation,Marooti,in which the ‘a’ is hushed,and the ‘u’ is not at all subtle) car.
That the sonny boy Khullar,also known as Sameer (Saqib Saleem),in order to impress soni kudi Jasleen ( Chakraborty) hooks off with said gaddi,and promptly falls into a series of misadventures,with his pal (Panjabi). And that in the end,everyone is very happy and jolly.
I sat through the first half looking for something to surprise me.
The boys are too standard-Punjabbi-mundas full of youthspeak (chal geda maar ke aate hain has much more meaning than the staid lets go for a drive),the girl (Rhea Chakraborty) too reminiscent of Bollywoods smart-mouthed gals,and their escapades arent startlingly new either.
But,post interval,things perk up. The plot catches speed,the writing smartens,and some twists leave you smiling. And the actors come out better too,more filled out,taking a cue from the lines they are made to say.
At its best it is placid,and sort of middling,this Mere Dad Ki Maruti (even though the car company must be delighted at this movie length endorsement: for a whole generation,the 800 was the height of aspiration ).
The first time you hear Mr Khullar greet ‘Smeer’ (no self- respecting Punjabbi will say ‘Sameer’) with an inversion of a mild gaali,it’s funny. Not the next and the next. This sort of repetition makes the film feel longer than it is.
And the inclusion of a fully filmi car thief ( Ravi Kissen) who narrows his kohl-laden eyes and speaks in Urdu,seems nothing more than a device to stretch a barely-there plot.
On the upside,the Punjabbi-ness is not exaggerated. No giddhas-bhangras. No bijis-baujis. And no rock-garden-Chandigarh or Sukhna-lake-Chandigarh. Just for this,and for what is termed a ‘clean’ family outing with Chunnu Munnu te Pappu,ik geda maar lo,ji.