The Masala is Just Right!
By MovieTalkies.com, 20 March 2009
The film is just like its title, delightful, with just the right amount of mirch and masala. The film's storyline is simple, and has been excellently executed, very well written and very well acted as well. This film by Robby Grewal makes for a perfect tea time snack, just like its title.
Aloo Chat is one of those films, where the romantic leads, in this case, Aftab Shivdasani and Aamna Sharif, are not really the main leads of the movie, even though they are the main focus of the plot. The lead characters are really the supporting cast, which consists of Kulhushan Kharbanda, Manoj Pahwa and Sanjay Mishra. It is this trio, supported by some really witty and at times naughty dialogues, which forms the main crux of the movie.
The film's plotline is simple. The America returned Aftab Shivdasani throws his family into total confusion when he tells them that he wants to marry an American. His is a typical middleclass Punjabi family, living in Delhi's Lajpat Nagar. The family is ruled by his very strict and disciplinarian dad, played by Kharbanda. Aftab's character has actually lost his heart to a Muslim girl, played by Aamna, who despite living in the US, is very Indian and traditional. But knowing that his orthodox family will never accept a Muslim as a daughter in law, he hatches a plot with the help of a family friend, who is a sexologist called Hakim Tarachand (Pahwa). In fact, it is Tarachand who decides on a plan straight out of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, where the Muslim girl is expected to come into the family as the friend of the American bride to be, and win the hearts of everyone. Matters gets very complicated due to the meddling of Aftab's uncle, played by Sanjay Mishra, but all ends well as it should be.
There is a lot of spoof on what the West, and specially America, means to someone from India, with the typical cliches of bikini babes, multiple marriages and divorces etc. So the director does bring in the East vs the West debate, which is another age old Hindi film cliché, but since the treatment is light, one goes with the clichés. In fact, everything in the movie, beginning from Pahwa's one-liners, Khrabanda's experessions and Mishra's muddling, is only engineered to make one laugh, which one does, quite heartily, all through.
Thankfully, Grewal manages to make a film, which is pure and unadulterated fun. He does not make the mistake of meddling with the simple recipe of the good old aloo chat, hence, the film really goes down well.
Even though Aftab and Aamna do not have much to do, they look good on screen together and separately, as well. In fact, it would have been nice to have seen a little more of Aftab, who has a good sense of comedy as well. He reveals part of that in this movie in the few opportunities that he gets. Aamna is good looking but Aloo Chat is not really a test of her acting skills. Linda Arsenio does a good caricature of an American as seen through the eyes of a middleclass Indian male. But the true honours in this movie belong to Pahwa, Mishra and Kharbanda. They are the real characters to lift the movie and take it forward. Pahwa is at his best as the sexologist, who has clients ranging from a Punjabi rockstar to a pandit. He is the mastermind of the entire plan to help the lovers unite. His one liners are to die for and the actor has his craft down to perfection. He is brilliantly supported by the veteran Kharbanda, who is turns in an immaculate performance as the authoritarian, stern father. Mishra as the bumbling and mischief making uncle is another brilliant cameo by this versatile actor. And one cannot but mention, the two actors who play the aloo chat vendors in the movie. They act as a chorus, but a very hilarious one at that, as they comment on the goings on in the movie.
Aftab and Aamna may be the 'aloo' in the movie, but the 'chat' factor in the film, which brings it all together and imparts the spice, are definitely the film's dialogues and its actors. Kudos to the director for making an entertaining, light hearted movie, with a message of unity and secularism tucked in at the end. Good fun.