Is this thing called Lafangey Parindey because every song in the film has either of those two words in the first line? Or did the makers feel compelled to add one of the two words in each song because the film is called that?
But for that contrived sense of lyricism, Lafangey Parindey isn't as bad as it sounds. Yes, it is no Kaminey, so what if this one too has a Maharashtrian ‘mulgi' adept in French. Ahem!
This really is Deepika Padukone's film though. She exercises considerable restraint, dances, skates, makes you cry and smile (Disclaimer: The author's objectivity may have been compromised given that he has been a long-time fan of the actor), while Neil Nitin Mukesh tries hard to convince us he's tapori enough for this film with some generic Munnabhai-speak.
The Lafangey Parindey that they are, they fight for survival (he literally, she figuratively) as he teaches her what he's good at. Soon, they dance (she literally, he figuratively) as she teaches him what she does best. Since everything else in the movie is an excuse for this to happen, the screenplay seems to have been worked out backwards.
The movie begins rather interestingly as we are introduced to the leads and their brief encounters before an accident jolts them out of their carefree existence. To Pradeep Sarkar's credit, he never lets the mood get too serious even after the accident that leaves the girl blind and lets go of the temptation to manipulate her disability for melodrama.
Largely inspired by films with similar situations from the past and recent past, Sarkar crafts a larger-than-life bond between the two characters using song and dance montage to his advantage. And, the first half zips past even before you know it.
It is a nice touch that screenwriter Gopi Putran equates a physical disability (like the girl's blindness) with an aptitude-based disability (like the boy's inability to dance on roller skates) and empowers the characters with enough spirit to fight the odds even if they are differently-abled. Also, how many films give the opportunity of having a Rocky Balboa-esque climax a pass? The hero loses the final fight for a chance to be with the girl he loves and is never given a chance to salvage the lost pride. Not even in the end. Our filmi hero has come of age, huh?
We are also spared the mandatory climax speech by the celebrity judges of India's Got Talent about how the couple deserved to be winners (in fact, it's not important whether they won the show or not, what's important is they won hearts and made the judges sob). Such restraint, even if minimal, is refreshing, coming from the Yash Raj camp.
Manish Chaudhary, the corporate honcho from Rocket Singh, cuts a nice cameo here as an honest cop, while the rest of the supporting cast chips in to breathe life into the much-abused tapori lingo.
So yes, it's harmless Bollywood fare, as predictable as they come and certainly a step forward for Sarkar after his last regressive outing, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag.
Go for it only if you are a Deepika fan.
free birds Lafangey Parindey
Director: Pradeep Sarkar
Cast: Neil Nitin Mukesh, Deepika Padukone, Piyush Mishra, Namit Das, Kay Kay Menon
Storyline: A fighter responsible for blinding a dancer on skates gets attached to her as he teaches her to fight her disability and she teaches him to dance.
Bottomline: Not half as bad as one would expect from the team that gave us Laaga Chunari Mein Daag in Yashraj designerwear