By MovieTalkies.com, 18 September 2008
Shona Urvashi's Saas Bahu Aur Sensex turns out to be a delightful film, filled with quite a few touching moments. The story has an interesting peg in the stock market and its workings and uses it to showcase the workings of life, with its ups and downs. One has to give full credit to the director for the manner in which she manages to skillfully weave in the workings of the stock market into the context of the film in such a simple manner and render its complex workings in simple terms. But the real star of the film is undoubtedly, actor Farooque Shaikh, who makes a comeback after almost a decade and makes you realise how much one missed him. He, along with actress Kiron Kher, are definitely the highlights of the movie.
The film has a very interesting premise which could have been more fully exploited, one feels. The weakness of the film lies in the script department. While the framework is well put together, the director has not been able to flesh out all her characters satisfactorily and has tended to take the route of resorting to cliches, or glossing over the incidents. Somewhere down the line, this tells on the quality of the movie, making portions of it almost seem amateurish. But what holds the film together is the actors and the dialogues, which have a punch.
The film's story is about a divorced middle aged woman, Binita Sen (Kiron Kher), who migrates from Kolkata with her young daughter, Nitya (Tanusree Dutta) to Mumbai, to begin life afresh. She shares a very troubled relationship with her daughter, who holds her responsible for the breakup of the marriage. She is unhappy with her mother's decision to come to Mumbai. Both women realise the need to earn money as they are not financially well off. Nitya has had to forgo her dreams studying for her MBA and find a job. She bumps into Ritesh Jethmalani (Ankur Khanna), who lives in the same building, who befriends her and helps her get a job in a call centre. On the other side, Binita's father had left her some shares and she traces her father's old stock broking house, to be able to make some sense of the shares. Here she meets a broker, Firoz Sethna (Farooque Shaikh), an eccentric but competent broker. He is highly nervous around women and cannot generally stand them, but somewhere Binita manages to pierce through his crusty exterior and he helps her with getting a job as a nursery school teacher, besides teaching her the ropes of the stock market.
Meanwhile, Binita also befriends the many women in the building complex and joins their kitty. They become suspicious of her activities and the fact that she seems to be getting prosperous by the day. Suspecting the worst about her, they follow her one day and land up at Sethna's office. Binita shares the secret of her good fortune with them and introduces them to Sethna. Soon, this batch of kitty partying, serial watching, gossip hungry women, become investors in the stock market and become faithful followers of the Sensex and the Nifty. Nitya is much happier now, with her new job and new friend. But Ritesh is in love with Kirti who works at Costa's serving coffee and dreaming of landing a rich guy. Ritesh is her standby, but he is unaware of that. Nitya is aware of this but is unable to tell Ritesh anything as she does not want to hurt him. Kirti has dreams of landing a rich man and one day she manages to meet Yash Modi (Sudhanshu Pandey), a millionaire. But since he has no intention of marrying her, she strings Ritesh along and even agrees to marry him, much to his delight and Nitya's dismay. Yash's marriage is supposed to be an alliance between two business families, which boost their company's stocks in the market. All the women in the complex have invested in that company. But when Kirti walks off from the altar for Yash, it seems that everybody's fortunes are on the wane. But luck finally favors the brave women and their stocks only appreciate. Nitya learns that it was her father who betrayed her mother and not the other way round, while Ritesh realises that Nitya loves him truly. All's well that ends well.
The film has been structured well and moves at a fairly decent pace. Its music, however, hardly deserves much mention. Some of the portions of the film appear to be quite amateurish but somehow, the film's underlying humour comes to the surface and rescues the movie. Also coming to the rescue are veterans Kiron Kher and Farooque Shaikh. Kher is a very competent actress and she gives her portrayal of Binita Sen that touch of authenticity. Leading the brigade of the kitty party women are Lillette Dubey and Sharon Prabhakar. Both women attack their roles with much gusto and energy. Sharon is a revelation. Shorn of her glamorous image, she turns in a delightful cameo as a Punjabi housewife. Lillette is delightful as well as the bored Sindhi housewife. Among the other females, Tanusree Dutta does a good job as well as the sullen daughter. Masumeh is quite a treat to watch as the gold digger. She carries herself with just the right attitude and fits the role to a T.
Of the men, Farooque Shaikh is a sheer delight to watch. This film is like a comeback of sorts for this very talented actor. He is funny and sweet as the crotchety, eccentric, woman hater, stock broker. The actor plays a Parsi broker and manages to incorporate the nuances superbly into his performance. He is funny without being ridiculous and is one of the highlights of the film. His scenes together with Kher are quite entertaining to watch. A very controlled performance from this actor, who has always displayed a very good flair for comedy. Ankur Khanna as Ritesh, plays his role well, despite it not being a very well written role. He is almost a cardboard character but Khanna manages to infuse his role with freshness. He has a certain natural charm which comes across well and makes him an endearing character. Sudhanshu Pandey is charming as the rakish Yash Modi.
Urvashi's film is interesting but could have been very absorbing if fleshed out better. The director tries to weave in many stories into the film and ends up skimming the surface most of the time. The lives of the kitty women are more caricatures than anything else. Except for Lillette and Sharon, the rest are quite forgettable. Even the Nitya Ritesh or the Kirti Ritesh love story lacks chemistry and romance. But the scenes between Masumeh's character and Sudhanshu have a certain chemistry which makes one sit up. But despite these flaws, the director is to be credited for making a film which is slightly hatke and quite delightful as well.