Friday, April 20, 2012

REVIEW 130: VICKY DONOR


Release date:
April 20, 2012
Director:
Shoojit Sircar
Cast:
Ayushmann Khurrana, Yami Gautam, Annu Kapoor, Dolly Ahluwalia, Kamlesh Gill   

There’s no python sucking at a man’s crotch in this film. A crocodile does not bite anyone’s bum. The hero does not pee on a haystack. And not a single ape farts. But whaddyaknow, without any lazy gimmickry, Vicky Donor is still funny! Thank you, God! Thank you!

For the past decade now, the likes of Sajid Khan have persisted in equating the comedy genre with immaturity. But there’s hope shining on the horizon in the form of Vicky Donor’s bossman Shoojit Sircar whose film proves that you can be comical without being childish, that hilarity and stupidity are not the same thing!

Vicky Donor is the story of a sperm donor who makes big bucks by giving generously of his swimmers to an infertility clinic in Delhi’s Daryaganj area. Baldev Chaddha is the doctor with the uncanny ability to recognise the quality of a man’s sperm from just looking at his face. Dr Chaddha’s business is in a precarious state because he’s had a high failure rate with artificial insemination. But in Vicky Arora from Lajpat Nagar he spots a potential saviour. Vicky is initially reluctant, but it’s hard to say no to the money that pours in when it turns out that he has an incredibly high sperm count and his little fellows come armed with high motility. The Emperor Alexander of Sperms are now in demand, making Vicky a rich man. Along the way, he falls in love with a pretty banker called Ashima Roy. Will his ‘profession’ affect their relationship? The answer unfolds through a unique combination of wit, drama and simplicity rarely seen in a mainstream Bollywood film dealing with sensitive social issues.  
Vicky Donor is built on a foundation of strong writing and casting. Juhi Chaturvedi supports her unusual story with a screenplay that maintains an unrelenting pace almost throughout. Her dialogues too hit the right note especially while showcasing state-to-state cultural differences within India with humour that stops short of being caricaturish. Without giving away the story, let’s just say that in the hands of a less skilled, less refined, less original and less forward-thinking writer, I could imagine that this film might have either passed judgement on single/divorced/working women, or made icky jokes about semen and spermatozoa (this is really what I was dreading as I walked into the theatre!) or given us irritating stereotypes of Punjabis and Bengalis, or done all the above.

What we get instead are side-splitting interactions between Vicky’s all-Punjabi family and Ashima’s all-Bengali clan that explore familiar clich├ęs in an unfamiliar, inoffensive fashion. Also on offer are some of the most interesting women you’ve seen in a Hindi film in a while; and the heartwarming relationships Vicky shares with the ladies in his life. Like Vicky, I too was tempted to say out loud to his grandmother: in this city, there are only two things that are truly modern – the Metro and you!

The thing that jarred was a father (never mind who) telling his daughter in passing that she should be relieved her husband is not blaming her that he can’t have a child because of her. Hmmm … it’s not that an Indian parent would not utter such an insensitive line, but that it didn’t fit with the character as he was written until then. Also, Dr Chaddha’s penchant for describing all men in terms of their sperm was funny to begin with, but became a bit of a drag as the film rolled on. If I were being finicky I’d say some aspects of the story do stretch believability – the way Vicky manages to keep his ‘job’ a secret for such a long time; and Dr Chaddha’s relentless chase. But that’s cinematic, comedic licence that is forgivable when you look at the bigger picture! And the bigger picture, my dear friends, is an amusing, sweet, moving, unconventional Bollywood comedy!

VJ-turned-film debutant Ayushmann Khurrana pitches in an impeccable performance as a strapping Punjabi boy who is bewildered at being pursued for his sperm but shows equal doggedness when he in turn pursues the girl he loves. In the role of his Ashima is TV actress Yami Gautam whose striking beauty and talent are another of this film’s assets. And veteran Annu Kapoor is lovely as Dr Chaddha. Bringing up the rear are an array of solid supporting actors including Dolly Ahluwalia as Vicky’s mother and Kamlesh Gill as his grandmother.

Vicky Donor’s social messages on infertility, sperm donation, adoption, family and the stresses that accompany modern life are so neatly woven in that they don’t really feel like messages at all. The climax of Vicky Donor – which could have ended up seeming silly or melodramatic if stretched a second longer – is just right. And the second half could have been maudlin, but the deft writing and direction ensure that the film retains its light touch till the very end. It helps that debutant producer John Abraham joins the cast in the catchy Rum rum rum rum rum song that runs with the closing credits during which his shirt is torn off for no apparent reason and he gets hosed on that amazingly-worked-out torso. These are great times to be a female Hindi film viewer!!! Thank you again, God!!! Thank you!!!

Rating (out of five): ***1/2

CBFC Rating:           U/A
Language:                  Hindi and Punjabi

Lead photograph courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicky_Donor   

7 comments:

  1. looooooooooollll..this sure looks like a movie worth going to...thank you anna for the review

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  2. Excellent Review. The opening lines were superb and aptly described the insult Sajid khan infested upon the viewers in Housefull 2. Filmmakers like him should be banned from film making.

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  3. thanks mam...liked the review..especially first para...!! :)

    -by Aashish

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  4. you make me want to see this film! Renuka

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  5. Amazing picture, going for it again today! Every single character was so good, especially Yami's bong character, was so attractive. I love it when you write reviews like this about movies that i enjoyed.

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  6. I am cursing myself, Anna. Why do I have to watch such movies in pirated DVD? One reason could be the closure of many of fav theatres in Delhi. But that does not justify me watching a very good film on pirated DVD. About the movie, just superb. Before Vicky Donor, the other two movies I would like to remember are Kahaani and Zindegi Na Milegi Dobaraa.

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