Another case of the 90s influence. Guy Ritchie, Tarantino and the Coen Brothers went through that phase of criss-crossing parallel narratives held together by a MacGuffin. Their brand of ensemble crime comedies has led to at least half a dozen tributes by Indian filmmakers — from Shashanka Ghosh's Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part 2, Sanjay Khanduri's Ek Chalis Ki Last Local, Sriram Raghavan's Johnny Gaddar, Vishal Bhardwaj's Kaminey, Ahmed Khan's blatantly ripped-off Fool n Final to this week's other release Sudhir Mishra's Yeh Saali Zindagi.
Srikant Velagaleti joins the fanboy club with a low-budget scaled down version of the genre that unfolds at a leisurely pace in direct contrast to Sudhir Mishra's Yeh Saali Zindagi. If Mishra frustrates you with just too many characters doing too many things, Srikant irritates you by telling you the same story from multiple points of view (of different characters in the film).
So by the time, you realise how the third character in the film is directly connected to the hunt for the missing MacGuffin (a bag full of money here), it's fairly easy to deduce that every character in the film probably did something earlier that night that directly connects them to the MacGuffin. So you can see the final twist coming from a mile and it is a long, long wait before it finally arrives. And to make this wait worse, there's Vinay Pathak in a double role, spouting French as a wannabe gangster.
What works, however, is the awkward half-hearted budding romance between strangers — Ram (Vinay Pathak) and Koel (Mona Singh) and the comic portions between Saurabh Shukla pretending to be a pizza delivery boy and Sanjay Mishra as the gangster who buys this ridiculous premise. The actors bring in the laughs effortlessly walking the line between the real and the surreal.
So yes, while it all borders on the ludicrous and the zany to live up to the film's title, there's barely any energy or consistency of genre for us to take the film seriously. The limited choice of locations and old-fashioned writing peppered with proverbs makes the whole film look like a stage play and within those constraints, Utt Pataang does offer you a few laughs.
Strictly only for the patient.
Director: Srikant Velagaleti
Cast: Vinay Pathak, Saurabh Shukla, Mahi Gill, Mona Singh
Storyline: A man separated from his wife, his detective friend, a woman with no place to go, the ex-wife who is leaving country, a gangster with a French hangover all cross paths the same night as a bag full of money keeps changing hands.
Bottomline: This non-linear multiple narrative film takes its own sweet time to unfold with its stage play-like execution
Keywords: Utt Pataang film reivew