Director: Eshwar Niwas
Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Ayesha Takia, Aftab Shivdasani, Rimii Sen
Storyline: Friends try to save their buddy from falling for a gold-digger.
Bottomline: Saved by Silverman
‘De Taali’ is not a bad film. Except for the songs that test your patience, right from the first frame.
Four songs in the first half, none of them actually contributing to the story-telling. The opening credits begin with chalk-graffiti on a tree-house about three kids – Abhi, Amu and Paglu. The handwriting and language suggest the kids are in second grade.
Then, the movie begins and we see that the kids behind these names are re-introduced to us as characters played by Aftab Shivdasani (living in a tree-house may have given him properties of wood when it comes to acting and expression), Ayesha Takia (who certainly has an evil stylist) and Riteish Deshmukh (the saving grace of this film). And, you learn that the kids aren’t in second grade, they are 26 years old and wise enough to wear tops that say ‘Juicy’.
For the benefit of all those who have missed the opening credits, all that you learnt from the graffiti is once again shown visually – that these guys are friends, Abhi falls for a different girl every few weeks, Amu is one of the boys and Paglu is sure Abhi will fall in love again.
For the sake of the visually challenged, Paglu’s voice over repeats these facts over a freeze-frame character-introduction yet again. So within the first few minutes, your expectations from an Aftab-starrer hit a new low.
That’s when the film finally picks up with a montage of guest appearances… Neha Dhupia, Hrishita Bhatt and Anjana Sukhani as Abhi’s psycho ex-girlfriends. But then, speed-breakers again… Two songs within a 15-minute span, after which ‘De Taali,’ thankfully, becomes an inspired reworking of ‘Saving Silverman.’ Minus all the sex and nudity, of course.
Even so, never more have I been this glad that a Hindi film is a remake of a Hollywood film. The first ‘original’ 15 minutes truly sucked. The adapted portions are chuckle-worthy and heart-warming in the second half, except for the long-winded drama towards the end. To give Eshwar Niwas his due, the funniest joke in the film is the best thing to have happened out of ‘Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag.’ Also, the whole Amitabh Bachchan hangover the film sports… Nice, very cool.
Ritiesh Deshmukh’s comic timing, Ayesha Takia’s natural flair for emotions and Rimii Sen’s charm make up for Aftab Shivdasani’s lack of it all. But then he has nothing much to do but look like a fool (in love) or sit like a loser (with a bottle for company) and he acquits this part brilliantly.
Remove the songs and you have an immensely watchable film. Or, you could go for this movie with friends, take pot shots and wisecracks at the film and hi-five each other.