F.A.L.T.U = Far Above Lesser Thrills Undoubtedly
By MovieTalkies.com, 01 April 2011
It's an ironic title. For a film named F.A.L.T.U, ace choreographer Remo D'Souza's directorial entry is a surprisingly sensible film. While the plot borrows quite liberally from Hollywood comedy Accepted, the issue of education that it deals with finds as much resonance in India as it would anywhere else in the world and Remo's premier effort deals with its subject matter in a rather amiable, light and non preachy way and rides high on a rather catchy soundtrack.
Though F.A.L.T.U has been touted as producer Vashu Bhagnani's "relaunch vehicle" for son Jackky Bhagnani, it is to Vashu and Remo's credit that the younger Bhagnani doesn't hog the spotlight here. Instead, the focus is uniformly divided between the four lead characters, that of Ritesh Virani, played by Jackky; the pretty Puja Nigam, played by debutante Puja Gupta; Nanji Nambiar, played by the brawny Angad Bedi and the studious Vishnu Vardan, played by Chandan Roy Sanyal, last seen in Kaminey. In fact, if a character track had to be picked amongst the four, Chandan's Vishnu would probably seem like the most
'F.A.L.T.U. deals with the travails of this foursome, best friends and college mates. Fresh out of junior college, the trio of Ritesh, Puja and Nanji finds themselves in trouble as the marks they have scored can't earn them an admission in any college, of repute or otherwise. Vishnu, the scholar of the group, on the other hand, lands himself a seat in one of the best colleges of the city, helped along by his rich authoritarian father, Akbar Khan, who simply can't see beyond marks. When parental pressure gets too much to handle for Ritesh and gang, the three manufacture a fake college of their own, helped by Vishnu who ditches his own college, and some more by a friendly conman called Googlebhai, played by Arshad Warsi.
Google even hires a gifted, creative young teacher called Bajirao, Riteish Deshmukh, to play Principal at the institution, which they name Fakeerchand And Lakeerchand Trust University, or F.A.L.T.U. However, matters get out of hand when rejected students from all over the country land up at the fake institution seeking admission, and unwittingly turn the place into a real college. While at first, there's nothing apart from rampant partying happening at the place, eventually, a change of heart is sparked in Ritesh by his scrapdealer father, played beautifully by Darshan Jariwala, who finds value in all of the world's rejected and refused things. A dramatic montage later, F.A.L.T.U. has now turned into a model institution imparting real life skills to its 'rejected' students, ready to prove itself to the world at large and take on elitists like Vishnu's father.
F.A.L.T.U.'s focus is on the idea that every student has his own skills and capabilities that need to be nurtured, a sort of grown up Taare Zameen Par, if you will. The path that Remo seeks to get to this point, however, is a much more lighthearted and comic one than TZP. The first half is populated by pop a phrase dialogues, each one more hilarious than the first. Remo keeps it simple, without creating situations just to exploit the subject of intelligent education. Instead, the first half of F.A.L.T.U. would have you believing the film is a straight out comedy.
It's in the second half, instead, that we're introduced to the subject at hand, and the students set out to educate themselves. Admittedly, the sequence that deals with the F.A.L.T.U. students seeking out their own professors and studies could have been better handled by D'Souza, but he does a fair job of it anyway. There is some slack, as the film approaches its climax, with the comic element slowly drying up, but the good thing about the film is that Remo manages to stay away from turning preachy until the very end, give or take the last few minutes of the film. In fact, the choreographer director gets into his comfort zone at the end, with a rather creative dance sequence forming part of the climax that keeps the audience hooked.
On the acting side of things, Remo extracts fairly good performances from all of his lead stars. While Jackky is several shades more charming than his debut earlier, Puja Gupta has a pretty face and plays up her fun namesake appropriately. It is also a refreshing move from director D'Souza that he doesn't insert any unnecessary romantic angles between Jackky and Puja in the film, although reportedly, there is such an angle playing out in real life now.
While Angad Bedi is passable, Chandan Roy Sanyal is the star of the show with his performance as the beaten down Vishnu, who is unleashed at F.A.L.T.U.. On the parental angle, Akbar Khan is okay while Darshan Jariwala is superb, as always. Vijay Kashyap is also quite funny as Nanji's father. Arshad Warsi and Riteish Deshmukh are dependable as always to extract more than a few guffaws, while Boman Irani is hilarious in his short cameo. Mithun Chakraborty's entry at the end is fair as a star element.
The film's not so secret star is undoubtedly its score, with tracks like chaar baj gaye and aaltu jamaal tu bringing in a superb party element, while the climactic number, awaz do needs praise for its visualisation. Full marks go to Sachin Jigar for their superbly catchy work here.
Though not a biggie by any measure, F.A.L.T.U. is an entertaining change from the run of the mill comedies that Bollywood treats us to otherwise. A film with a real message at its core, inspired or not, Remo D'Souza shows great potential as a filmmaker with his debut effort. While his skill certainly could use some sharpening, his opening salvo as a director will certainly surprise quite a few cinegoers. Simply put, don't go by the title with this one…