Saturday, April 21, 2012

Vicky Donor is a laugh riot, yet has its soul in place

Vicky Donor is a small little film that not many people have really heard about. When I first saw the trailer of this one, I was doused in immense expectations. I tried to spread more awareness about the movie on social media by posting about and was indelibly looking forward to it. To my disdain, the theatre was less than half full today when I was watching it. Yes, the same that was brimful with so called lovers of good cinema who came prancing to the movies when Housefull 2 released, a couple of weeks ago. Alas, the fate of the actual good cinema took another beating today. But its not the end of hope, lets see if Vicky Donor catches on the word of mouth and more people pour in to catch this little film. But is it really worth all the hoopla that I am creating here?

Vicky Donor deals with sperm donation, a rampant taboo in India, and the makers have been forthright in putting the issue out there with all the posters carrying the tagline "I am a sperm donor". The first look convivially generated a buzz with its witty lines, interesting plot and a convincing lead in Ayushmann Khurrana who could easily pass of as an alpha male in this context. Shoojit Sircar, the director, made Yahaan before this, a lesser known movie that was indeed incredibly good and possibly marked Jimmy Shergill's career best performance. With Vicky Donor, he completely changes gears to handle another sensitive issue. But Sircar has reinvented himself now. He handles Vicky Donor with a rare sense of humor that runs perennially through its veins, yet it does not let the issue become a matter of jest. In the past, Dostana picked up the issue of homosexuality. Despite the movie being outrageously hilarious, the treatment did not help the sensitivity of the issue and made it more of a drab than a solution. The cantakerous critics brought the house down claiming it didnt do anything to improve the perception of homosexuality in India. The basic nuance in Vicky Donor is that it is brave enough to change the perceptions of sperm donation in India while retaining its persistent breezy comic flavor, almost in all frames.

Shoojit Sircar sets out with an interesting plot to set up the concept of an alpha male going into a pest of a doctor dragging him into it and then how it can change his own life and love life. He handles issues and taboo topics with a light nerve and keeps you giggling or laughing out loud all through the journey. Interestingly, he cooks up a premise of a love story, a societal disconnect and a clash of Bengali and Punjabi cultures and molds it with the inherent crux seamlessly. Pure masterstroke! Even the emotional moments are endearing but they never turn sappy. A special mention for some brilliantly handled sequences such as the marriage sequence, which is undoubtedly the best, the whole part involving the doctor convincing Ayushmann to donate, the sequence between Ayushmann and Yami when they confess their love, Yami's breakout sequence, the drinking sequence between Vickys grandmom and mom and the finale - all display a deft hand behind them. Like a lot of movies these days, this one breezes past you with convincing performances and virtuous direction. The imagery of Delhi as the backdrop is always alluring, if done right. Juhi Chaturvedis screenplay is taut and keeps you hooked for almost the whole run time of 122 minutes that smartly weaves conversations and mannerisms and cliches with a flourishing ease. The best part is that Vicky Donor doesnt mooch off anything thats been done before even in its sub-plots. It scratches the hinterland of India but never lets the scratch appear. 

Vicky Donor is produced by John Abraham's company as its first outing along with a couple of others. The producers definitely lent it the right packaging, if not the most suitable marketing. I just feel it should have been pushed a little more so that the audience would be willing to watch it. The music by Ketan Sodha and Tanuj Tiku is pleasantly fresh and collaborates well with the narrative. If you have heard the album, you will go in loving Pani Da Rang but come out remembering Rum and Whisky, specially because of its execution in the inimitable marriage sequence. The cinematography by Kamaljeet Negi is good though the editing by Shekhar Prajapati could have done better and reduced 10 minutes in the film to enhance the overall impact. Overall, a relatively new crew has decreed an oven-fresh flavor to the whole fare, that is in turn seeded in the charming.

A film like Vicky Donor vests a lot of its success in its performances, and rightly so, because each and every character makes his presence count and successively increments the value of the film. Ayushmann Khurrana is first-rate in a character tailor made for him. Typical Delhi guy, typical mannerisms and dialect, virile looks and unabashedly honest acting - he gets it all right. It works for him that its his debut movie and he does not come with any baggage for people to brood too much over him. Yami Gautam displays a searing intensity and voracious maturity that makes her totally lovable. Both the leads deliver a succinctly suited performance that lifts the movie way above mediocrity. They are aptly helped by the sleight of all the supporting actors. From the obnoxiously garish Dolly Ahluwalia as Vickys mom, to the classy funny Jayanta Das as Yami's dad, to the grandmom to the neighbour, all of them make this journey tremendously amusing. But the star of the show is the lesser publicized man, Annu Kapoor, as the doctor. We have all known the guy to have a great set of performances in his oeuvre but in Vicky Donor, he is the star of the show. You crack up every single time this scamp of a character comes on screen, specially every time he does his hand gesture of signifying a sperm. He sinks his teeth into the shamelessly Punjabi doctor running an infertility clinic with an astounding ease and never leaves a single scene in stasis. Kudos to possibly the best performance of his lifetime.

John Abraham picked Vicky Donor as the script to start his production company with, and believe me, he has never made a better choice of script in all his acting career. If only he had this sense before. Vicky Donor is a small film with a huge heart that elbows out any rehash stuff being produced lately. The film is low on publicity but high on content. However, the first day collections look decent and one can only hope that everyone who watches it, gushes about it to more people to make sure it gets what it deserves. Please dont wait for the DVD, support good cinema from today if you havent already. Go to a theatre right now and watch it, you will love it, I promise!

Rating - 4/5

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