Aloo Chaat

April 19, 2009

aloo chat movie still 300x218Film: “Aloo Chat”
Director: Robbie Grewal
Cast: Aftab Shivdasani, Amna Sharif, Linda Arsenio
Rating: *1/2

“Do you have a boyfriend?” Aftab Shivdasani, dimpling with mischievous intent, asks his prospective bride. “Neither do I!”. Ha ha…

“We could go out at least two evenings every week after marriage,” Aftab promises. “You could go on Saturdays, I on Sundays.”

Ha ha ho ho…

Robbie Grewal’s first cinematic outing “Samay” featured Sushmita Sen as a tough cop and his second feature was a mushy ode to first – “Mera Pehla Pehla Pyar”. This time Grewal falls as flat as a cold chapati while attempting this groom meets bride tale in a Punjabi household bustling with uncles, aunts and other relatives.

Trouble is, we don’t see much of the domestic action jumping out of the screen to claim our attention. The characters including the ever-dependable Kulbhushan Kharbanda behave like a crew from a long-running serial straying into a film about life in a family serial.

Every actor behaves as though he’s playing a part for the camera. The talented Manoj Pahwa playing a tawdry sexologist talks directly into the camera.

Is he the narrator or just the excitable orator? Are we watching a film on contemporary mores as opposed to conventional attitudes? Or is this a script that Basu Chatterjee decided to throw away for its lack of punch?

The plot, if you want to know, is about a Punjabi NRI who, in order to convince his family to let him marry a Muslim girl, brings home a tourist as his girlfriend.

“Thank God he didn’t bring home a guy,” someone quips as this bargain basement version of “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge” chugs along at a dull though inoffensive pace.

“Aloo Chaat” is a Punjabi comedy that you’ve been seeing on television for years and is now being screened on a much larger screen and a far smaller intellectual level.

Aftab Shivdasani and Amna Sharif share some watchable moments together. But these moments are squandered in the wrong movie with the wrong plot.





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