‘Do Dooni Chaar’ throws a surprise, a pleasant one at that, as the film gets on track within first 10 minutes itself. Clichéd as it may sound but the fact remains that it is the Duggal family that you are watching as the scenes unfold, and not Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, something that one would have always expected.
The film by itself has a single line plot that could well be termed as an episode in the life of Duggals. Since the family doesn’t have a car to visit a marriage, it borrows one from a neighbour. Soon Mr. Duggal decides that he needs to have one of his own too. How the family goes about arranging money from down-payments and survives threats in the form of betting racket, neighbourhood taunts, job without complete education, money for mark-sheets, sting operation and hundreds of kilograms of detergent is what forms the crux of ‘Do Dooni Chaar’.
Now there are three ways to treat this subject – a) Go the weepy way which means come up with an art house affair, b) Make it an out and out slapstick affair a la Priyadarshan by presenting it as a comedy of poverty or c) Keep it all real while still ensuring that there is good enough entertainment quotient to keep audience engaged for those two hours. Habib scores a boundary in his very first attempt by adopting the third approach and the results are there to be seen.
Really, it doesn’t take time to enter the world of Duggals. With the narrative being simple, situations that one can instantly relate to, cinematography getting the right texture of the setting and of course performances being akin to conversation with a next door neighbour, everything fits in just perfectly for ‘Do Dooni Chaar’. Even the most serious moments don’t last beyond a minute while treatment there too is never melodramatic. In fact at least 3-4 junctures one dreads that the film would take a dramatic route but thankfully that never happens.
The points where Neetu Singh doesn’t mind her bangles being sold or the one where an ex-student comes face to face with Rishi Kapoor are sure to bring tears in one’s eyes. The one which is bound to get the house down are Duggal junior’s references to IPL. Even otherwise, most of the one liners mouthed by Rishi Kapoor have an intrinsic wit element to them which always work. None of the jokes or light hearted moments are forced upon the audience and scenes are short and sweet that keep the fun element going continuously for those two hours.
While each of the four principal protagonists comes up with an endearing act, one would have loved to see more of Neetu Singh though. She takes a slight backseat in this episode which primarily has Rishi Kapoor playing a pivotal element. Coming to the million dollar question – ‘Does their chemistry work?’ Oh, of course it does. The adage of ‘everything seems like just from yesterday’ holds true here as the Kapoors plays the middle class couple to perfection.
Not many plot based films have been successful in the past, whether Hollywood or Bollywood. It only becomes further difficult when the setting is that of a middle class family with no major point of conflict. Still, writer-director Habib pulls it off well, and how. Go, join the Duggals with your entire family. They may not be able to treat you with a seven course meal but their ‘daal-roti’ would be served with a lot of love and affection.