It is never easy to make a film where one of the characters actually gets to say “I just stole Sachin's Ferrari.” And this — the fact that the makers set it up for their conscientious lower middle class protagonist to actually get his hands on the Little Master's dream machine — is the part of the ride that's thoroughly entertaining and almost plausible.
At a basic emotional level, this is essentially a story of two fathers. One who stopped his son from chasing his dream of being a cricketer owing to his history with the game and that son who grew up into a caring, loving father who wouldn't think twice before breaking the family piggy bank to buy his son the bat he fancies. Even if the real need is for better shoes than a bat he can borrow for the match.
At a more social level, this is the story of contemporary India where the gap between the haves and the have-nots has increased so much that it takes a miracle for the lower middle class to afford the quality of training that is priced for the rich.
It's a modern day fairy tale and treated like one as the writers (story is by Rajesh Mapuskar and Raju Hirani, dialogues by Raju Hirani and the screenplay is credited to Rajesh Mapuskar and Vidhu Vinod Chopra) manage to suspend our disbelief for most of the superbly executed set-up.
It's post interval that the film descends into excessive manipulative melodrama with plot contrivances guaranteed to make you roll your eyes and grind your teeth. While the film makes us root for the father forced to “borrow” the Ferrari, it frustrates us by making him do the silliest things — the equivalent of the blonde girl following the noise in a horror film instead of running away from it. We stop relating to a film where all characters suddenly decide to behave like idiots just so that the makers can milk them for melodrama.
And there's the unwarranted media circus and a meandering comedic subplot involving the father-son dynamic between a local gangster-turned-politician and his groom-to-be son that slows down the ride further.
Ferrari Ki Sawaari bears the brand of feel-good drama that we have come to expect from Hirani and Vinod Chopra, and first-timer Rajesh Mapuskar crafts some genuinely heart-warming moments in the first half and towards the very end, extracting finely nuanced performances from the entire ensemble.
Sharman Joshi excels in this author-backed role (though his fake eyebrows are a little distracting) while Boman Irani as the bitter old man delivers his best, most refined performance. The kid Ritwik Sahore is a natural and wins you over instantly while Paresh Rawal shows us his range in a cameo. The rest of the supporting cast comprising of lesser known actors brings in the laughs too.
As entertaining as they may be, this Ferrari would've coasted along fine had the two-seater not been this populated. Like in the film, it runs out of petrol soon enough only to be dragged on by a bullock cart of a narrative.
Ferrari Ki Sawaari
Director: Rajesh Mapuskar
Cast: Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani, Ritwik Sahore, Paresh Rawal
Storyline: The head clerk of an RTO needs to beg, borrow or steal Sachin's Ferrari to fund his son's cricket training camp at Lords
Bottomline: Partly superlative, mostly manipulative