Pukaar Magazine

Film review: Nautanki Saala!

by Meera Majithia

Age certification: 12A

Written by: Nipun Dharmadhikari, Rohan Sippy, Charu Dutt Acharya

Directed by: Rohan Sippy

Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Evelyn Sharma, Pooja Salvi, Gaelyn Mendonca

Genre: Romantic comedy

Rating: ***

Ram Parmar aka RP (Ayushmann Khurrana) is the director and actor of a popular theatre show called RavanLeela. But the drama in his life isn’t restricted to the stage, he seems to have a knack of inviting it into his real life too.

We are constantly reminded that our leading hero feels the need to help people, so what does he do when he sees a man attempting to commit suicide on the road? He invites him into his home and becomes his somewhat guardian angel, providing him with a job and trying to reunite him with the love of his life – Nandini (Pooja Salvi).

As the depressed Mandar (Kunaal Roy Kapur) begins to regain his confidence and enjoy life, things take a turn for RP who struggles to cope with his newly developed feelings for his friend’s ex-girlfriend, despite being engaged himself.

The interactions between Ayushmann and Kunaal are a delight to watch and it’s fair to say that the duo have better chemistry with each other, than with their respective love interests. Their comic timing is superb, especially in the audition scene where Mandar is auditioning to play the lead role of Ram in RP’s RavanLeela.

Based on the French film Après Vous, Nautanki Saala! provides plenty of laughs in the first half but becomes too slow paced and melodramatic in the second. It feels overly stretched and could have done with some better editing. At this point it feels as if the two male actors are saving the film from sinking.

Gaelyn Mendonca is strong and confident as RP’s fiancé Chitra and Evelyn Sharma looks gorgeous playing the theatre’s Seeta, but she doesn’t really have much scope in the film. Pooja Salvi looks great and has the whole vulnerable angle going for her, but somehow you don’t feel as if there’s any sizzling chemistry between Nandini and RP, despite the repeated lip locks.

It’s great to hear Ayushmann’s vocals on the soundtrack with Saddi Gali with Dhak Dhak and Mera Mann also being the pick of the lot. On the whole the film is an enjoyable watch, but could have been superb with a tighter second half. Watch it for Ayushmann and Kunaal.

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