Cast: Neil Nitin Mukesh,Deepika Padukone,Namit Das,Piyush Mishra,Kay Kay Menon
So heres Bollywood doing the ‘tapori thing again. This time it falls upon the brawny shoulders of Neil Nitin Nukesh and Deepika Padukone to don the street-smart mantle. He is One Shot Nandu,the guy who fells his boxing opponents with a single punch,and she is Pinky Palkar,the girl who dreams of being a skating,dancing star.
On the face of it,Lafangey Parindey should have notched up points. Neil Nitin and Deepika havent been a pair before,and neither have done precisely this role. Pradeep Sarkars decision to do such an intensely Mumbaiya film with a fresh Bollywood pair should have yielded interesting results. What we get is a film that raises its head once in a while to deliver a few nice moments,and then lies down again,supine.
The confusion of voice and vision starts from the title : the characters spend their time drinking tea at the ‘dhaba,playing board games in the street,and going on bike rides. So parindey,okay,but lafangey? Nandu ( Mukesh) who fights on the orders of the local ‘bhai ( Mishra) comes off more a guy whos doing jobbery,rather than lafanga-giri. His pals,of whom Namit Das is the most lively,hang about,helping him get his act together. When the sightless Pinki ( Padukone) joins the gang,they switch their generous attention to her : a kindlier,more helpful bunch will be hard to find. And of course they all use standard tapori-speak,just in case we forget their origins : ‘zyada shanpatti nahin karne ka,kya?
Mukesh and Padukone draw smiles with the first few yedaa samjha hai kya rolling off their tongues. She uses a couple of cuss words,too. But neither brings anything more to it,even when they whirl and twirl on stage,she like a gazelle,and he an able companion : she is a better dancer than him. The talent contest,which is meant to be the high point of the film,lets Padukone show off her dancing skills,and allows the high-powered judges ( Shiamak Davar,Jaaved Jafferi and Juhi Chawla) to be moved to tears,and for us to wait,ungulpingly,for them to wipe their eyes.
The plots other strand,apart from the Yashraj Films standard trope of getting the little people to win big,is about a boxing ring and betting and bad guys,which gives Nandu a chance to flex his impressive muscles and pulp his attackers,but doesnt add too much to the film. A couple of cops keep zeroing in on Nandu through the film,and when finally they have him their sights,they let him go. Huh? The music is nice,though : you remember a couple of the songs when it is over.
Strictly passable,without the knock-out punch.