Nautanki Saala! – I would rather not “exclaim”

by shalinijena

As the credits rolled by, two sides of me walked out of the hall. One, who had a good time but didn’t know if she liked it, loved or found it ‘ok’. Then there was the other side that was in absolute glee and confused about her first side. So, I figured out – this must be the game of over-expectations and feel-good of a pretty decent film that I didn’t like as much I expected. Nautanki Saala will hopefully make good money even though it might not go as far as Ayushmann Khurrana‘s debut film Vicky Donor, but it definitely is not a waste of time. Despite the rib ticklish, realistic, clumsy and unpretentious comedy, which actually makes you hope for better – Nautanki Saala comes out to be a bit of a drag.

Mandar (Kunaal Roy Kapur) is a good-for-nothing man who is broken hearted in love and fed up of his meaningless life which eventually leads him to attempting suicide. Enter Ram (Ayushmann Khurrana). An actor  who plays Raavan in his own play “Raavanleela”. With his visceral instinct to help this broken, depressed man in finding the pleasures of life, Ram befriends Mandar, encouraging him to enact the role of ‘Ram’ in his play. Even though Mandar is now much better off than before, the love of his life – Nandini (Pooja Salvi) still haunts him, making him even more depressed. So, Ram decides to bring Nandini back into his life. And if you have watched the trailer, you know the obvious. He falls in love with his BFF’s ex and with all the lies, drama and more lies, Ram falls into some serious trouble.

Let me correct it – the overly clichéd “trouble” that ends exactly like any Bollywood film ever ends, but that’s not the real disappointment. The film starts off with a good pace, its funny and not boring. But at some point, even though you don’t want to get off your seat – its the ‘I-know-what’s-gonna-happen-next’ feeling that might make you hope that you’re wrong. I mean – the acting is good, the actors are good, the story isn’t bad and neither are the dialogues – but they just don’t click.

First of all, Ram’s character was vague. Who was he? Where did he come from? Why does he act and make plays? If they had established who he really is instead of focussing on how generous a buddy he can be, maybe the audiences could have related more to the film’s protagonist. Now Mandar is portrayed as a ho-hopeless, but he had a really hot and pretty girl -friend, Nandini. Now come-on! Atleast this deserves a flashback, or else we are watching just a bunch of hopeless people do funny stuff and laugh (not even happily) about it.

There were funny moments and the acting was just SO good. Now my friend – THAT, is the real disappointment. It sure could have been better. With the songs, the set up, the budding romance and a pretty decent story, it could have been another Jab We Met or Band Baaja Baarat. But it wasn’t.

Nautanki Saala

The film kinda reminded me of Paulo Coehlo’s famous quote from his book ‘The Alchemist’ ~

“Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.”