Yash Raj Films is a company that has not only lost its charm but also its position in the Indian film Industry in the last 2 years or so. I am not saying they haven’t made good films, its just that their films haven’t been able to retain their monopoly in the market, or maybe its just the corporate stepping in and better production houses coming up. But nevertheless, they have not stopped making films, and I can personally say, if not all, most of their films have been more than just worth a watch. They are still waiting for that one blockbuster which can get them back into business totally, which hasn’t happened since Chak De India. Maybe they need another with SRK!
So does Lafangey Parindey do it for Yash Raj? Well, not really. Lafangey is one of the films that could promise a lot but doesn’t deliver as much. However, to judge the film only on its merits, its more than a mediocre film and is definitely worth a watch. To come to the point straight, Lafangey has brilliant first half that unfolds at a feverish pace and sets you in the world of Mumbai Chaals and its people. The problem lies in its second half when the movie fails to move out of the clichés, to experiment and the script falls prey to predictability. Therein lies my problem with the movie. When you have a first half that tries to set a few points about the character of the lafangas and parindas of Mumbai streets, the second half turns them into bollywood puppets of predictable storylines. In all honesty, the movie experiences a downslide due to its choice to stick to a conventional been-there-done-that love story.
So what works for the movie? There are quite a few notable things that win the movie more ‘+’ than ‘-’. Pradeep Sarkar made Parineeta which was a masterpiece, he then made Laaga Chunari Mein Daag which was clichéd but nonetheless a well made movie. With Lafangey, he steps into a territory completely unknown to him and actually succeeds in creating a world which one could call alien to his movies, establishing a convincing canvas of the lukhhas and gundas of Mumbai streets and getting the viewer into their world and in turn expanding his own limits as a filmmaker. Full points to him for that. The first half of the movie, specially the first 25 minutes, completely sucks you into it. Sequences unfold at a fast pace and a lot of the story moves forward till intermission. The world of Chaals maybe a YashRaj sanitized version of it, but still works and the credit goes to the side characters who complement the world of Nandu and Pinky. Nandu’s guilt everytime he sees Pinky, Pinky’s outspoken nature and the constant desire to challenge herself, Nandu’s desire to get into the underworld and realizing very soon that he is not made for it, Pinkys constant challenge to Nandu are some instances that work for the movie. The only thing I liked in the second half was the elimination of any drama to catch Usman or bust his gang, instead they choose to stay true to the completion of their love story only. The hero does not have to set everything right in the end. Although, I have to mark Pinky’s realization towards the end is unconvincing and so is the treatment of the talent show as a part of the story, it just doesn’t reflect professionalism.
Neil Nitin Mukesh tries hard to convince you that he is a tapori and delivers an average performance mainly let down by his too-fair-to-be-indian looks and he struggles with his lingo and accent. Piyush Mishra is completely wasted. Kay Kay Menon and Namit Das are usual, though I still feel Namit has a lot of potential seeing him in Wake Up Sid. The performance that takes you by surprise is Pinky Palkar. Deepika Padukone gets ample scope and thankfully an equal share of scenes in Lafangey in contrast to her recent previous movies and she rises to the occasion to deliver a standout performance. She lives Pinky Palkar to give her career best till date. Excellent work. Music is good, but would stay for long with people. Cinematography is average which is a further letdown, dialogues are okay. On the whole, Lafangey Parindey has its share of shortcomings but nonetheless its an endearing watch for all Mumbaikars for its feel, for movie buffs to learn how to not screw up a good first half in the latter parts and all others for light-hearted entertainment.
Rating - 3/5