September 20, 2008 10:35:06 pm
Cast: Sushant Singh, Rajat Kapoor, Kartika Rane, Vrajesh Hirjee
Director: Jaideep Varma
This is the week of the small film doing big things. Hulla, directed by debutant Jaideep Varma, is another welcome step towards getting back to celluloid centre-stage real people, real motives and real problems.
Smart broker Raj (Sushant) moves in with his wife Abha (Kartika) to a far-flung but nice suburban housing society. That’s not enough for her South Mumbai parents, but she’s fine till he’s fine. And then one fine day, he’s not. The building’s night watchman whistles too loudly. Raj can’t sleep. He petitions the society’s self-important secretary Janardhan (Rajat) to get the fellow to stop. He acquires dark circles and a pounding head. He tries explaining his troubles to a colleague and friend (Vrajesh), to his irate boss, to a cop at the local police station, to anyone who will listen. And finds only noise.
Hulla reminds you of the middle-of-the-road cinema that lit up the 70s: it has a very Sai Paranjpye-ish feel to it. The plot’s simple. But the treatment makes it a whimsical, affectionate study of people. As they are, and as they’d like others to see them. The film does slow down in the second half, and gets a tad repetitive, but keeps you with it.
And it brings to your attention the actors who never get their due in today’s mainstream cinema. Kartika is fresh and perky. Sushant Singh is very good. But the real surprise in this package is Rajat Kapoor, who delivers a pitch-perfect performance as a man whose identity depends upon his designation, on what he can paint on his entrance plate below his name.
Jaideep Varma took many years to get this one out. His second should be sooner.
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