Director: Habib Faisal
Cast: Rishi Kapoor,Neetu Kapoor,Akhilendra Mishra,Supriya Shukla,Aditi Vasudev,Archit Krishna
The Duggals are a quintessentially LIG family. For those not from Delhi,or unaware of this deeply significant acronym,it stands for Lower Income Group,which means people who have a house the size of a handkerchief,paper-thin walls,and nosy neighbours who can tell when the residents have settled into bed by the way it creaks. Its not just any old short-form,dreamt up when the Capital was still primarily a sleepy socialist village. It also defines your life.
Or used to,as Mr Duggal (Rishi) discovers,much to his dismay. His school-teacher salary,and the extra he makes doing tuition,is not enough,and hasnt been for a long time. Mrs Duggal (Neetu) wants a new fridge. Daughter Duggal (Vasudev) has set her heart upon an iPod. And Sonnyboy Duggals idea of a smart riposte is to do with buying an IPL team: he may not have one,but this is New Liberalised India,and no one can stop him from dreaming.
Habib Faisals debut film is built on a nice idea: that greed is not,after all,such a good thing. He lets it dangle in front of his characters like a juicy carrot. If they gobble it,they will get a snazzy car,which will be every neighbours envy,and their eternal pride. Duggal ji has a choti behen whose prestige depends upon the brother showing up at a family wedding in a four-wheeler instead of his rickety scooter. And its got to be big. The beti cant bear the thought of a small car. Shed rather die instead.
That the carrot may be nibbled at,but will not be ingested,we know,because thats who the Duggals are. They are good people. They may be led into temptation,but they will pause and think the better of it. This knowledge,even before the film has properly settled down,causes a certain predictability. And it doesnt help that Mr and Mrs Duggal are made to realize the error of their ways in big bold letters,with lectures on how teachers are the salt of the earth,and how they keep our moral fibre intact.
A little loosening up could have made this film a delight. It has a lot going for it. The kids are lifelike and easy. Rishi Kapoor shows why hes such a stayer,though you wish he didnt come off quite so bland. The edge is provided by a cracklingly-in-form Neetu Singh Kapoor as the supportive wife,who wouldnt mind more,but is content with what she has. The Duggals are a good fit,and enough reason for an admission ticket.