Saturday, February 26, 2011


Release date: February 25, 2011
Director: Vineet Khetrapal
Cast: Siddhartha Sanghani, Rajvi Patel
Films like director Vineet Khetrapal’s Satrangee Parachute are the reason why I couldn’t dismiss Sagar Ballary’s Kachha Limboo in spite of all its flaws. Because spotting good child actors and extracting fine performances from them is a special talent. Either you’ve got it or you don’t. And I’m afraid Ballary’s got it, Khetrapal just does not.
Pappu in Satrangee Parachute is a schoolkid who wants to run off to Mumbai to get a parachute for his visually impaired friend Kuhu. He’s brilliant, knowledgeable and a dreamer … the kind of guy who could remind you of Darsheel Safary’s Ishaan Awasthi … except that he doesn’t. Because while Taare Zameen Par had its feet firmly planted on the ground and made a helluva lot of sense, Satrangee Parachute is floating in some stratosphere of its own, trying to make a point that’s completely lost in its cloudy script and direction.
After having watched the wonderful children of Kachha Limboo last week, it hurt to see the indifferent performances in this indifferent film. So Pappu runs off to Mumbai with his friends from his home town Nainital. The kids get caught in a web of terror since some aatankwaadis are planning to land in Mumbai in parachutes. And words like qaum and awaam are thrown around to convince us that this is all true.
To understand how shoddy this film is please note a conversation in which a Nainital cop tells the children that he’s such a kind policeman, he’d treat even Kasab nicely if the man were to be brought to his station. Many scenes later, news of 26/11 is shown breaking on TV. Huh? Listen up all ye in the CBI, RAW, Mumbai police, Maharashtra Government and Central Home Ministry … did you know that a little cop in Naini knew of Kasab before 26/11?
I was so startled by this loophole in the film that I made it a point to verify that I had not seen wrong with those associated with the film who were present at the press preview. Yes, they confirmed, that was 26/11 happening on TV.
The sad part is that Satrangee Parachute stars some excellent adult actors trying their best to lend credibility to the goings-on. But as a viewer who has already seen Kay Kay Menon play Rakesh Maria in Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday, it’s a little hard to swallow scenes of him playing cops ‘n’ robbers in a pointless project like Satrangee Parachute. And when the marvellous Mr Sanjay Mishra weeps copious tears while relating his life story to someone, and the background score immediately rises to a crescendo of aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, I couldn’t help but giggle.
The singing credits of Satrangee Parachute read like a who’s who of our music industry … Lata Mangeshkar (yes THE Latadidi!!!), Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shaan, Kailash Kher, Usha Uthup, Shreya Ghosal … Whew! And yet, there’s nothing I can particularly recall of the film’s music. Perhaps I was too dazed after watching a scene in which the boy hero pees in a sharbat bottle because the toilet was occupied (don’t ask me why he didn’t just aim at a wall like all good Indian men). His unwitting father then serves that pee to a policeman at his sharbat ka thhela. Says the cop: “Gareeb hoke pishaab pila raha hai to tu ameer banke kya latrine ka dosa khilaaega? (If, being a poor man, you are serving me pee then what will you do when you get rich? Serve me a dosa made of potty?)” Yes, that’s the high point of this film. Teehee.
Rating (out of five): 0 stars

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