April 13, 2012
Pulkit Samrat, Amita Pathak, Ashok Pathak
The trailer of Bittoo Boss reminded me of two recent films. Apart from the similarities in lingo, look and feel, there’s also the fact that Bittoo Boss’ hero shares his first name with the lovable Ranveer Singh’s character in Yash Raj Films’ Band Baaja Baaraat (2010) … remember that crazily charismatic fellow? And perhaps the resemblance to the posters and promo of TanuWeds Manu (2011) has something to do with the fact that TWM and Bittoo Boss are both Viacom 18 films.But should the comparisons end there? Unfortunately, yes.
I say “unfortunately” because I adored Band Baaja Baaraat, I found the first half of Tanu Weds Manu lots of fun, and Bittoo Boss is a film with tremendous potential that it simply does not live up to.Bittoo is an attractive, talented and cocky wedding videographer in Punjab who revels in the attention he gets from female guests. His ultimate goal is to become a feature film maker, but when the going gets tough, he decides to take up pornography to make a quick buck. I can’t tell you more without giving away too much. But promising story brief, right?
The interesting premise is let down by a patchy screenplay and inconsistent casting though. TV actor and film debutant Pulkit Samrat is pleasing to the eye and convincing as the aspiring film maker Bittoo who walks an unusual path to attain his goal. No, he doesn’t have the electrifying screen presence with which Ranveer Singh zapped us in BBB, but remember that Ranveer might have been half the smashing debutant he was without Maneesh Sharma’s brilliant direction, the impeccable writing by Sharma and Habib Faisal, and spunky Anushka Sharma as Shruti Kakkar providing the perfect foil to his OTT character. Still, Pulkit in Bittoo Boss displays a noteworthy ability to swing between the smug small-town heart throb with the swagger, the proud professional who can’t bear the slightest slight even if it could lead to a significant career break, the angry lover and the guy who can’t walk away from his golden heart. But too many aspects of his character and story are glossed over in this half-baked screenplay. For instance, are we seriously expected to believe that it takes just one hard knock for this supremely confident young man to take such a dramatic career decision?And before that, there is this other question: why did he fall for the leading lady? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not for a moment suggesting that only beautiful women should be cast as heroines in films. And to be fair, Amita Pathak is a good actress. But when almost every single female guest at a wedding is falling all over a cute guy, yet he has eyes only for one among them, she’d better be wonderfully well fleshed out in the script and played by an actress with a striking screen presence. Nay on both fronts here! The character is quite charmless. As for the actress … Well, charisma is not about looks, it’s about an X factor that’s hard to explain. You either have it or you don’t. Sadly, Amita does not. This is disappointing since the lead pair needed to share an exciting chemistry for his despair to be convincing. It’s not. ’Cos they don’t.
Amita is producer Kumar Mangat Pathak’s daughter so I cannot blame the casting team for her, particularly since their choices for some of the smaller parts are interesting. The actors in Bittoo’s attempts at porn feel like real people. A special mention must go to the kid playing the under-age girl whose name, I’m afraid, I missed! In the role of Bittoo’s porn assistant Vicky is Ashok Pathak who is energetic, believable and delightful.
The slumps in Bittoo Boss’ writing and direction are inexplicable since there are parts of this film that are handled in both departments with a simplicity and firmness of hand that are very effective ... such as the quarrel between the lead pair when Bittoo refuses to let a TV channel head insult his work; and especially especially the lengthy portion dealing with Bittoo’s foray into pornography. Here the film makes a superbly subtle point about date rape which is completely unexpected in a country like ours where the “she asked for it” taunt is thrown at most rape victims. In fact, this part of Bittoo Boss is so absorbing that it almost feels like someone else helmed the rest of it.
Erratic … that’s what Bittoo Boss is!
Rating (out of five): **CBFC Rating: U/A
Language: Hindi with Punjabi
Photograph courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bittoo_Boss