Thursday, December 16, 2010

Phas Gaya Re Obama is an exceptional movie in all respects

You can blink and miss Phas Gaya Re Obama, but if you have any respect for real taut screenplay and content-backed cinema, smart satires and intelligent comedy, this venture does it all for you. Real Respect. PGRO easily qualifies in the best movies released this year leaving many of its counterparts far behind. Constructed from a terrific script that’s strong on plot and packed with crackling dialogues, 'Phas Gaye Re Obama' is consistently engaging. Full points to director Subhash Kapoor for entering the industry with a bang. An interesting concept may not be enough for a movie, but Kapoor backs it with a brilliantly written screenplay which does not let you bat an eyelid in those 2 hours and still manages to subtly make a comment on very important issues.

What's the recipe for a winning motion picture? A gigantic financial plan? Striking locales? A mammoth star cast? Strictly going by the number of low cost films that found tremendous appreciation, it reiterates and restates the fact that content always reigns supreme. 'Small' films like LOVE SEX AUR DHOKHA, TERE BIN LADEN, UDAAN, PEEPLI [LIVE], KHICHDI and DO DOONI CHAAR have had a lot to say when compared to several mammoth ventures, which drove on star power while content took a complete backseat. PGRO does not have the stars, does not have the canvas, does not have the publicity, does not have the hype, does not have the brilliant cinematography, or the outstanding music score, but it gets full points for the most important part of movie-making: The Content and its Treatment.

Subhash Kapoor has many feathers to his cap in PGRO. The humor is subtle but makes you laugh immensely. The situations are funny but real, and dont bother on exaggeration. The incidents are unpredictable but not unbelievable. The comments made on the issue are not outrageous, but still relevant. Handled extremely well, the film has numerous sequences which make it a true winner. The last scene and the 2 lines said by Sanjay Mishra regarding recession speaks volumes on the whole issue. The sequence when Manu Rishi meets Rajat Kapoor for the first time, the sequence when he meets him after his kidnapping, the sequence when all the gangsters are called to face Munni (Neha Dhupia's character) as well as the finale are true gems in this one. Besides, all the other sequences involving Sanjay Mishra and his gang are hilarious and well enacted. One special mention has to be made of the sequence in the English teaching class, which is outrageously funny. PGRO has a very engaging screenplay and the funniest of situations and one-liners come with an amazing innocence. The assortment of characters, the efficient casting and situations works superbly for this cleverly written venture.

Manu Rishi is the star of PGRO. All actors deliver brilliance but he shines above them as the moderately educated sidekick, and literally lives his role with the perfect style, innocence and understanding. He is a great find and is sure to go places. His ease and effortlessness surprises you and wins your heart. More than an award winning performance! Next up, all other actors deliver their best too. Right from Rajat Kapoor as the NRI to Sanjay Mishra as the local gangster to Neha Dhupia as the female Gabbar Singh to Amole Gupte as the constipated politician are totally in skin of their character and make this venture a real pleasant watch. Although, I still feel that Amole Gupte's character was slightly under-written. The dialogues are outstanding, one of the best this year and the direction is intelligent. This low-budget satire works on many levels.

Any shortcomings? The film is badly edited at many places and its not marketed strategically. On the contrary to Peepli Live, this one has the potential for a pan india appeal as I do not see any potential barrier that could make any section of the audience like the movie less. In this cut-throat competition, the multiplex culture would kill this gem, but trust me, we make a lot of off-beat films these days but only a few of them hit the nail at being smart and satirical at the same time. This one dares to do that.

Highly Recommended!

Rating - 4/5

PHAS GAYE RE OBAMA showcases how global recession/meltdown impacted lives, affecting not just an America-based businessman, but also an underworld don in the dusty plains of small-town India. A spanklingly new idea indeed. And the assorted characters, right from Sanjay Mishra to Manu Rishi to Neha Dhupia to Amole Gupte, only make the goings-on spicy.

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