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A different perspective

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pr exercise? Pritika Chawla and Makrand Deshpande
pr exercise? Pritika Chawla and Makrand Deshpande

T his is an experiment on the other end of the spectrum and in a way a healthy sign for the industry. Director Makrand Deshpande shears Devdas off all its opulence and Mumbai off its glamour as he turns a one line situation into an engaging piece of cinema. Young flower seller Lali's (Pritika Chawla) life changes forever, when one day Shah Rukh Khan stops at a traffic signal and tells her that she is pretty. Overcome by the praise showered by her hero, she turns her back on real life and starts neglecting John (Sanjay Dadhich), who sells books at the same traffic signal and yearns for Lali's company. Spurned, John attacks her with a knife resulting in a police case, where the officer also turns out to be a Shah Rukh fan.

An intrepid reporter gets interested in the story because of the superstar angle but as it unfolds it's Devdas in a Mumbai slum. John wants Lali, Lali is enamoured of SRK and then there is Champa, a modern day Chandramukhi (Choyoti Ghosh), who employs her chastity to save John from the local ruffians but when she doesn't have her way, she plays the politics of sex using a local gangster (Makrand himself) to her advantage.

It's an interesting plot as Makrand conveys difficult things in a lighter tone. The contrasts are stark. The setting is too real to be called filmy, but the impact of cinema is omnipresent. On the surface it is about the godly status that the film stars enjoy in our country but when SRK name does everything for Lali that God does for us we get to know that it's the belief that matters, names of idols are immaterial. At another level he brings alive the life in a slum where a drunkard is ready to sell his wife for Rs.27, a girl doesn't shy away to use her body to achieve her love but there is solidarity in crises.

However, Makrand misses some crucial points at the execution level. There is too much of Shah Rukh talk (though the star makes only a one scene appearance) in the first half so much so that it gives an impression that it is a public relations exercise for the star or a case study for research scholars in Germany! Also the way it's structured after a point it gives the feeling of watching a staged performance. Some of the raunchy dialogues appear affected. In fact, the acting remains largely on the dramatic side. The support cast is weak particularly the reporters who make you cringe.

It doesn't deserve your 150 bucks but if you can catch a morning show, go for it.

a.k

SHAHRUKH BOLA KHOOBSURAT HAI TU Genre: Drama Cast: Preetika Chawla, Sanjay Dadheech, Makrand Deshpande Plot: Young Lali's life takes a turn when Shah Rukh Khan stops at the traffic signal and tells her that she is pretty. She switches to fantasy mode where she believes the superstar will cure all her ills. Bottomline: A laudable experiment which ends up as a standard festival circuit fare.

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