In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_aprsjzadl6cggwjedxexw7kfnbc

Transcendence

"Transcendence" is a serious science fiction movie filled with big ideas and powerful images, but it never quite coheres, and the end is a copout.

Thumb_heaven_is_for_real

Heaven Is for Real

Faith-based film tries reaching past its audience, but falls back on preaching to its own choir way too much.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Far Flunger Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Bajatey Raho

Bajatey Raho Movie Review
  |  

The first twenty minutes or so of "Bajatey "Raho" are a bit of a roller coaster in terms of the expectations they set up. What at first appears to be a man (Tusshar Kapoor) pleading with a school's headmaster to allow his younger, video-game obsessed relative (Hussan Saad) into the school is then revealed to be—delightfully—the guy and the kid setting up a wildly elaborate blackmail scheme against the headmaster, which then turns into a car chase with the gun-wielding headmaster. Then what's really going on finally becomes clear: the headmaster isn't even the target at all, it's his boss, crooked industrialist Sabbarwahl (Ravi Kishan).

The protagonists—a tight-knit family and a couple friends—are out to avenge their patriarch, a kindly, honest soul who started a bank for the poor and working class in their Delhi neighborhood, only to be swindled by the industrialist, and left over a billion rupees in debt to the furious community. The shock kills him, leaving his loved ones to somehow get the money back before they lose their house. And so, they decide that since Sabbarwahl has stolen it from them, they're going to steal it back.

"Bajatey Raho" is an energetic, irrepressibly good-natured caper comedy, and a concise one, clocking in at under an hour and fifty minutes. It elides some details (a lot of the character relationships are a little unclear, and certain particulars of the long con the protagonists run on Sabbarwahl don't hold up to any scrutiny) but manages to plow through most of them with bonhomie and charm.

One obstacle it can't quite get past is the integration of the love interest. The character of Manpreet (Vishahka Singh), although she goes on to become more than just "the love interest" in terms of importance to the greater plot, isn't handled terribly well. She's introduced as a random pretty girl Sukhwinder (the above-mentioned Tusshar Kapoor) encounters in his daily business as a cable TV installer, and with whom he subsequently has a tuneful, slickly shot montage of dates. Suddenly, though, it's revealed that she's a choreographer substituting for her friend who was supposed to arrange a production number at Sabbarwahl's daughter's wedding. The scheme to take Sabbarwahl down (that hinges, crucially, on the wedding) appears nearly seamless, in the classic con/heist movie tradition, except for the elements involving Manpreet. Nearly every one of her contributions to the greater scheme, although successful, appear to be completely by chance. She's ultimately a reusable deus ex machina. This doesn't sink the movie, by any means, but business relating to her character accounts for the vast majority of the narrative and logical loose ends.

Shashant Shah is a director to whom logical loose ends are relatively low on the list of things to fix, though. His previous two features, "Dasvidaniya" and "Chalo Dilli," featured, as does "Bajatey Raho," premises that operate more on the emotions than logic. "Bajatey Raho" shares two primary things with Shah's previous work, that sentimental streak and actor Vinay Pathak, who appears here as the master of disguise who helps facilitate the scheme, and is effective until he disappears almost entirely by the climax. By then, there are so many different plots to resolve that a few fall by the wayside, with most coming to satisfactorily cathartic fruition.

"Bajatey Raho" isn't bad at all, and it's quite fun if one doesn't stop to think too long and hard about it. The songs are good, the cast is enthusiastic, and there are some very funny bits of business in it. On the other hand, it unravels fairly quickly if one starts pulling threads. This is never a terribly wise thing to do in a comedy, whose main priority is to be funny. "Bajatey Raho" is, rather, and never in a mean way, which should count for something. Not anything profound, but something.

Popular Blog Posts

For the love of it: notes on the decline of Entertainment Weekly, the firing of Owen Gleiberman, and the ongoing end of an era

Owen Gleiberman's sacking as lead film critic of Entertainment Weekly — part of a ritual bloodletting of staffers at ...

Hashtag Activism and the #CancelColbert campaign

The recent #CancelColbert campaign on Twitter raises all kinds of issues about racism, but also about hashtag activism.

Able-Bodied Actors and Disability Drag: Why Disabled Roles are Only for Disabled Performers

Scott Jordan Harris argues that disabled characters should not be played by able-bodied actors.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus