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Monday, November 29, 2021

Pappu Can’t Dance Saala

Good at heart idea weighed down with unimpressionable arc.

Written by Shubhra Gupta | Mumbai |
December 16, 2011 7:17:38 pm

Director: Saurabh Shukla

Cast: Vinay Pathak,Neha Dhupia,Rajat Kapoor,Naseerudin Shah

Indian Express rating: **

Pappu is what fresh-off-the-train Vidyadhar Acharya gets called by brash Mumbai girl Mehak Malvade. Pappu is an omnibus word,and can be used in an affectionate manner,especially when addressing young boys. But when Mehak says Pappu,she means an amalgam of duffer plus fool plus loser. She could very well have used Lallu instead,but she wouldn’t know how,would she?

Vidyadharji ( Pathak) has done nothing to earn that sobriquet,other than being his Banarasi Babu self. Which means being resentful of ‘puri aloo’ made differently at a Mumbai stall ( aloo ki subzi mein kadi patta! ),taking himself off to sleep at eleven pm ( gyarah baje main sota hoon!),and being respectful of women ( dekhiye,gaali mat dijiye!). Ms Malvade ( Dhupia) is the cheese to his chalk. Blowing large gum bubbles,wearing very skimpy clothes,hustling all the time to keep on top of things,she is a troupe dancer with an eye on the main chance.

It’s not that I have difficulty in buying the attraction between these two opposites. Stranger and odder couples have got it on,because,fundamentally,no one knows what does it for two people. But I had trouble keeping myself interested because of the flatness which the film suffers from,despite some nice touches.

These are actors used to playing with each other,but sometimes that comfort can result in a film like this,which has a good idea at its heart,but gets weighed down with an unimpressionable arc. Pathak’s Mr Nice Irascible Guy is a part he can by now play with his eyes closed,though he’s much more palatable here rather than when he was teaching the too-immaculate Lara Dutta how to negotiate a country road in ‘Chalo Dilli’ . It’s always fun watching Rajat Kapoor; you wish he was given more to do with his big-haired crack choreographer plus hard-edged-soft-hearted mentor.  Neha Dhupia is usually more effective in smaller,sharper roles : here she is spread too thin,leaving us longer with her limitations. Also,how does someone like Mehak who can not speak without using ‘tu-tadaak ki bhaasha’,as Vidydhar puts it so succintly,lose her rough edges so suddenly? Does one hit music video make congenitally outspoken girls rinse their mouths overnight?

Also,I kept looking about for Ranvir Shorey,usually a part of this gang. He may have livened things up some.

shubra.gupta@expressindia.com

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