Friday, October 8, 2010

Do Dooni Chaar

Starring: Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Aditi Vasudev and Archit Krishna
Director: Habib Faisal
Showing at: E-Square, Inox
Stars: ***1/2

You can count on this

Do Dooni Chaar is perhaps the next best thing if you're a fan of Dibakar Banerjee directed Khosla Ka Ghosla. It's probably not as witty or sharp, but the film certainly has its heart in the right place, and is a small gem that delivers a worthy message, without being overly preachy. The teaching profession - for all the token nobility it carries - has always been a low-paying and often thankless job. Of course, the last few years have seen a drastic improvement in these pay scales, but still Do Dooni Chaar emphasis this point further about the dejection felt by teachers at neither getting the respect due to them, nor being compensated adequately.

Duggal (Rishi Kapoor) is a middle-class man in Delhi who has a family consisting of an understanding wife, Kusum (Neetu Singh) and two teenage children (Aditi Vasudev and Archit Krishna). They live in a one-bedroom flat and have all the aspirations that today's generation has. Unfortunately, they do not have enough resources and each penny has to be accounted for. Duggal has an old scooter, which is a source of embarassment to his family. A mini crisis occurs when Duggal's sister pleads with him to buy a car or at least hire one during her daughter's wedding to keep her 'izzat'. Severely complexed about her position at her inlaws' due to her modest family background, she is overjoyed when Duggal and family do manage to arrive at the venue with a car (a borrowed one from a neighbour). But more problems come calling, and the rest of the film is about the family's struggle to come up with finances to buy their own car.

The film is engaging throughout and has no rough edges at all. The mood and setting is perfectly captured. Not all plot points are equally clever, but there's an understated charm to the scenes and the performances - even by actors with bit scenes - are all endearingly real. Of course, the star holding it all together is Rishi Kapoor, who delivers a sincere, heart-felt performance. Over the years, the actor has been so solid with his acts, that one would think it impossible for him to surprise now. Having played a rich man in a majority of his films, and his stature as an actor, one would perhaps have doubts about him playing a struggling, middle-class man that convincing. But the actor effortlessly slips into the character of a well-meaning, hard-working Maths teacher, who can't help but feel downcast at seeing the world move ahead of him and all the students he taught earning in lakhs, while he continues to languish where he was.
The film also marks the comeback of Neetu Singh, who made a terrific pair with Rishi Kapoor, until she married him and gave up her career to look after house and the children. The director weaves these real-life similarities into the film. So in the film Kusum talks about how they would have been better off if he hadn't made her quit her job as a librarian. Again, Duggal's essentially nervous nature and inability to handle pressure is offset by Kusum's great presense of mind.
Neetu Singh is decent, though she's never quite reaches her husband's level of performance. Her long sabatical from acting make her seem mildly uncomfortable in the role of a middle-class housewife speaking accented Hindi. Yet, it feels nice to see both husband and wife on screen together and there some lovely, tender moments that the two share in the film.
Do Dooni Chaar has its flaws, in the sense, it's not really concinging when a moral issue is made about their son making some quick bucks through cricket bettting, but the family seems game to accept the money that a student offers in return for marks. But for most part, Do Dooni Chaar stays very identifiable in capturing middle-class aspirations and their oscillating emotions with every small change in fortune.
An admirable effort from Habib Faisal and producers Walt Disney and Arindum Choudhury, and a film that 'drives' home its point with elan.


Anonymous rooney said...

interesting read only first two paras .. as i wont like to spoil my fun of movie first!

but indeed i would catch it soon, as this week am watching THE AMERICAN(george clooney) , JHOOTH HI SAHI ( m sucker for rom coms :-) )

thnks for recco.


ps- u on facebook, i guess i have asked this earlier.. but dont remember ur response, if not join it, Joginder bhai is also there.. its a good medium.. to keep touch..


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