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Updated: August 18, 2012 16:09 IST

Showcase: A quiet winner

SHASHI BALIGA
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Delightful comedy...
The Hindu Delightful comedy...

A pair of plump, middle-aged, middle-class, dowdy and dull 40-year-olds on the lookout for love. Here’s debutant director Bela Sehgal’s antidote to all those candyfloss romances, tragic love stories and porn-star piffle. This movie doesn’t look like it’s going to bust the Rs.100 crore barrier and promises to have no bikini interludes or six-packs.

But it could turn out to be one of those little delights that you don’t get to see too often in the theatres: a comedy that doesn’t leave you gagging on your popcorn, a movie that celebrates the idiosyncrasies of a small but colourful community without caricaturing it.

This is the story of 45-year-old bra-and-panty salesman Farhad Pastakiya (Boman Irani) and Shirin Fugawala (Farah Khan), 40, a spunky and forthright secretary. The film’s press handout’s description of Pastakia’s life-changing moment — “One day a 34B walks into his shop, and it’s love at first sight” — tells you what the tone of the movie will be like.

The hurdle in the path of true Parsi love is Farhad’s mother but, unlike the ill-fated lovers of the legendary romance, their modern-day counterparts squeak through.

The lead casting for this Parsi romance couldn’t get more authentic with Boman Irani and Farah Khan (her mother Menaka is the sister of erstwhile child stars Honey and Daisy Irani). So the milieu will be accurately recreated, the accents and idiosyncrasies spot on.

It is the quirkiness of the casting that is more attractive, though. Boman Irani’s comic talent is public knowledge. Less known, perhaps, is Farah Khan’s real-life comic timing. Expect a fair amount of slapstick countered by some deadpan dialogue delivery. Being a director should help Khan when she gets in front of the camera, if her cousin Farhan Akhtar’s acting outings are any indication.

With most of our 40-plus heroes playing dashing daredevils and romancing 20+ heroines, a film that has two lead actors playing their age is a welcome diversion.

Debutant director Bela Sehgal doesn’t seem to share her brother Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s cinematic flamboyance and as Habib Faisal’s delightful Do Dooni Char showed us, you can go full-on middle-class and middle-age and come up with a quiet winner. Let’s hope Sehgal’s courage pays off for her and us.

Bottomline: Expect a fair amount of slapstick countered by some deadpan dialogue delivery.

Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi

Cast: Boman Irani, Farah Khan

Director: Bela Bhansali Sehgal

Releases: August 24, 2012

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