The three hour Candid Camera
By Mansee Dabral, MovieTalkies.com, 30 July 2005
Juhi Chawla as Asmi Ganatra is an ambitious journalist who wants to be a television director and focuses on getting her big break in life. When she gets the opportunity, she tries to convince a big joint Indian family to cover the ceremony where a wedding is going to take place by promising them that they will become famous.
Irfaan Khan plays Manoj Joshi, the bride-to-be’s youngest uncle. He is a shy, credulous, good-for-nothing man who develops a soft corner for Asmi. Getting an inkling of Manoj’s feelings, Asmi decides to use him for her advantage.
Mannini De is Asmi’s boss, a head honcho of a television network. She is playing, much uncontrolled kind of a lady, very contemporary. A lady who becomes a laughing stock in others eyes when she gets angry. She can be very angry but she can be very funny in her anger.
A national TV network called ‘786 Plus’ gets great success and immense response after airing traditional family serials on air. They want to work on something different now which will be of as much interest to the audience. They come upon the concept of ‘Reality TV’ and choose the subject of Indian marriage and family to work on. The programme is handed over to Asmi Ganatra a debutant and a first time director. On the basis of search by her team, it’s found out that only Joshi’s family in Mumbai fulfills the criteria.
In Joshi’s house there is celebration mood, festivity and the naach-gaana that is common in the wedding fare in India. Asmi visits the Joshi’s who are taken by surprise. Asmi requests them to cover the marriage for the TV show. Mr. Joshi agrees to it though the rest of the family is not keen to be on national network. Asmi has to make things work to keep her career afloat and ploys a plan.
Dejected but not defeated Asmi discovers the bride’s youngest uncle Manoj Joshi has a soft corner for her which she can exploit to her advantage. She entices him to agree to set-up multi camera secretly in the house.
Unaware of hidden cameras, the Joshis behave true to themselves. Asmi’s cameras capture true-life depiction of the family which can stun anybody. The hidden and secret incidents bring to open light the facts and the Joshi’s privacy is increasingly invaded.
The millions of viewers watch the funny and emotional moments associated with this marriage and the television channel’s ratings go sky high. Slowly skeletons start tumbling out of the cupboard. And soon Manoj realises to his horror that he has opened a can of worms.
As the show TRP grows overnight Manjoj get the shock of the shocks when it records secret love affairs of Piya played by Chahat Khanna. Piya is his dearest niece. The best of all the disclosures comes in the climax in the long-drawn sequence between the bride and the groom. With the bride ready to run away on the eav of her marriage. Asmi’s moves to keep the wedding going at any cost, Manoj’s attempts at uniting the lovebirds, and the resulting fireworks, are, on the whole, hilarious.
One would definitely remember Monsoon Wedding, after watching this which was more or less on the similar line, both showing the few days before a marriage ceremony. But the biggest difference being that Monsoon Wedding had a more serious ending with child molestation taking the center stage in the entire narrative and here it is the sting operations that the satellite channels have become so popular for.
The film has some aimless subplots that make it stray from the main story while making it lengthy too. Some scenes are humor less such as, nine-year olds asking their teenaged cousin to bring glamour to their home video by flashing more cleavage; two inane cops (Ninad Kamat, Manoj Pahwa) mistaking a television crew van for a terrorist vehicle.
Juhi Chawla is a talented actress. Although she was not seen much in the industry lately, surely with this film she will become very popular. She has acted very well in this movie. The chirpy actress suits her role perfectly. Her body language reflects the notoriety and there is a subtle manipulation in character Asmi Ganatra.
Irfaan Khan, seen mostly in intense roles, is a delight to watch in a role that requires him to be witty all the while. Although he doesn’t display much flair for comedy, he still manages to breeze through his role with his funny reactions.
In the marginal roles, Anang Desai and Neena Kulkarni chip in for entertaining moments. Lalit Tiwari, Manish Choudhary and Manini De too play their parts with conviction.
7 1/2 Phere’s music is by Shantanu Moitra of “Parineeta” fame. The music rights of the film are acquired by Venus Cassettes and Records. Other credits include Cinematography by Attarsingh Saini, Sound Recordist Narinder Singh, and background music by Anjan Biswas.
The conflicts and resolutions between Juhi and Irfan surely will keep the audience entertained. In one sentence it can be described as “A complete family entertainer”.