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Nautanki Saala!: Comedy of Errors

Posted on the 17 April 2013 by Haricharanpudipeddi @pudiharicharan

Movie: Nautanki Saala!

Director: Rohan Sippy

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

Rating: **

One-film old Ayushmann Khurana has all of a sudden become the most bankable actor in the industry thanks to his super successful debut “Vicky Donor”. Cashing in on his success and overnight stardom, Rohan Sippy turns him into a do-gooder with a weakness for theater and lying in Nautanki Saala!, which is based on the French comedy “Apres Vous”.

Walking a tight rope between love triangle and bromance, Rohan’s outing is not as effervescent as the original.  Even though it desperately attempts to be funny in parts, but on the whole it only manages to get lost in translation.

The film revolves around a confused relationship between Ram (Ayushmann), a theater actor and a suicidal depressive, Mandhar.

They first meet when Mandhar is attempting to kill himself. Ram saves Mandhar and takes him home, only to learn afterwards that it is because of a bitter breakup with his girlfriend Nandhini (Pooja Salvi), Mandhar wanted to kill himself. In a bid to help Mandhar from dying, Ram decides to track down his girlfriend. However, things get complicated when Nandini starts falling for Ram.

Without an iota of doubt the film begins well, before it ends up treading the same path as several bromance comedies dealing about triangular love story. The minute the love angle kicks in, it is very evident what is about to unfold. Any Bollywood viewer could easily predict the climax because everything turns so obvious.

One of the highlights of the film is the crossover between Ramayana and theatre, which I believe Rohan used very effectively to build his funny yet emotional narrative. The magic of theater comes alive with lush art sets and props, and vivid costumes, rarely seen in films. But, sadly, NS never succeeds in making the best use of the Ram-Raavan subtext, which was intended to drive the plot.

Even though NS is low on the masala quotient when compared to Rohan’s earlier films, yet suffers from a half-baked storyline. While Ayushmann and Kunaal shoulder the film on their shoulders, other bunch of actors around them are depressing to watch, especially Pooja Salvi’s incompetency to even shed few real tears.

Pooja’s character as Nandini is weak and artificial. Rohan merely uses her as a tissue paper that men in the film use and throw. While it appears as though she yearns for love, she mostly appeared desperate to me.

Ayushmann and Kunaal are the only reason why NS deserves a watch. Of the two, the former entertains with spectacular timing for comedy, while Kunaal steals the show with his crisp comic chops. But, one certainly feels that Mandhar’s role needed stronger writing.

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