By MovieTalkies.com, 04 February 2011
Srikanth Velageti tries his best to craft a crazy comic caper with 'Utt Pataang'. But while he succeeds with the 'crazy' part, the film isn't quite the 'comic caper' it sets out to be. The plot seems to be writer director Velageti's take on Shakespeare's 'A Comedy of Errors', with Vinay Pathak in a double role; a comic thriller centred on a troublesome bagful of notes that keeps changing hands throughout the film. The plot unfolds over incidents that take place over the span of just one night, incidents that remain unclear until Srikanth looks at them from the viewpoint of each of the main characters in this paste up. The film opens up with Ram, a simple, almost boring office goer, who has just broken up with his firecracker of a girlfriend, Sanjana, and has nobody for support except his best friend, Nandu, a private detective by profession. Sanjana, we learn, has left Ram for a lookalike of his named Lucky, an odd, Francophile gangster. The catalyst in the plot comes with Sanjana nicking a bagful of currency that belongs to Lucky and trying to make a break for it out of the country, only to lose the money, having been double crossed by fate itself. In the midst of this, we are also introduced to Koel, a woman reeling from a broken engagement and a shattered heart, picked up by Ram from a restaurant at Nandu's insistence. With Vinay Pathak as its star, 'Utt Pataang' is another one of those shoestring budget comedies in the vein of 'Dasvidanya' and 'Bheja Fry' that he has increasingly come to specialise in. In fact, at points, Vinay's goody two shoes portrayal of Ram even seems similar to his characters in those previous films. However, Velageti, who partners with Saurabh Shukla on the writing, fails to whip the comic wit of those films. The screenplay slacks, with the changes in characters' viewpoints failing to hold the audiences' interests for too long. Shukla's dialogues are also not quite the stuff memorable lines are made of. On the acting side, matters swing from the good to the just about okay. While Vinay is comfortable playing Ram, primarily because such everyman roles are his forte, he fares miserably as the Francophone Lucky Sardana. This gangster of his, more bumbling than bullet shooting, inspires a ho hum reaction rather than the haahaaheehees he's looking for. He also seems quite uncomfortable in his French dialogues, which seem to be piled on for unnecessary effect. Saurabh Shukla, on the other hand, is quite good as Nandu, Ram's best friend. He is as convincing as the know it all detective as he is as the sincere friend. Mahie Gill though, is quite wasted as the rough edged Sanjana. Brought into an urbane setting, Gill loses the rustic charm that earned her praise in 'Dev D'. Mona Singh is strictly okay in her twenty minute role as Koel. Manu Sharma and Govind Namdeo come in literally as last minute additions and are passable. Sanjay Mishra is funny in his bit part. Overall, 'Utt Pataang' is a strictly okay comedy. Neither outrageously funny, nor terribly sombre, the film is hampered by the already seen effect that Vinay Pathak brings to it. Director Velageti also needs to learn to focus on the laughs, more than the techniques of his storytelling if he is to make a successful comedy. While he deserves encouragement for trying his hand at an off beat funny film, the topsy turvy path he takes in 'Utt Pataang' needs fixing, for the result is just about average.