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A sensitive film

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Gul Panag Vinay Pathak and Anuj Chaudhary in Straight
Gul Panag Vinay Pathak and Anuj Chaudhary in Straight

Straight (Hindi)

Cast: Vinay Pathak, Gul Panag, Anuj Chaudhary

Director: Parvati Balagopalan

Bollywood is busy reflecting on the sexual orientation of its protagonists. Here director Parvati Balagopalan comes out with a sensitive take on the subject.

Can a comedy be sensitive? Recent experiences make it hard to believe, but Balagopalan has managed it.

The protagonist is Pinu Patel, a restaurant owner in London who is not sure whether to lose his virginity to a man or a woman. It is hard to believe that a 30-plus man is confused about his sexual orientation.

But the script seems to be written for Vinay Pathak and, hence, the twists and turns suit his strong points. The versatile actor has established himself as the loser with a golden heart, and he plays the part with characteristic warmth. We know he is repeating himself, but as he learns to loosen up in life, you fall in love with him all over again.

Balagopalan starts off with a bang as she comments on double standards with Indian culture slipping on television soaps. In the screenplay, she uses the same tricks that made Rules Pyaar Ka Superhit Formula exciting. But in the middle overs, she loses her grip, as Pinu bounces between Gul Panag and Anuj Chaudhary.

Some good music and some meat in Panag’s character could have made the atmosphere stimulating, but the director seems just too focussed on Pinu.

A.K.

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