Banner: Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, Wide Frame Pictures
Cast: Kartikeya Tiwari, Rayo Bhakirta, Divyendu Sharma, Sonalli Sehgal, Nushrat Bharucha, Ishita Sharma
Direction: Luv Ranjan
Production: Abhishek Pathak
Music: Clinton Cerejo, Hitesh Soni, Luv Ranjan, Ad Boys
After watching the promos of ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’, one was hoping that naughty content is not just restricted to those two minutes of the playing time but also manages to extend much beyond as well. Anticipating a fun ride ahead, you step into the auditorium, only to realise that ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’ indeed lives up to the very good expectations and delivers a ‘punch’ which is indeed different.
First time writer & director Luv Ranjan takes an out and out comedy route for the film. In fact while you keep smiling right through the narrative, there are moments when you literally fall off the chair. Yes, there are a few dramatic moments towards the middle of the second half but thankfully all of that is controlled as well with the spirit of the film never being lost.
Three boys out there in the film – Kartik, Raayo and Divyendu – are anything but cool. In fact they are a complete antithesis of how Bollywood perceives ‘cool’ to be ever since Farhan Akhtar created a genre with ‘Dil Chahta Hai’. The characters here are as ‘desi’ as they get. They talk to each other in the filthiest possible language, don’t go around being on back slapping terms and are pretty comfortable to be talking about their failures.
Of course in their normal life there is a mighty punch delivered when they fall in love. Kartik has a fairy tale live-in relationship with a possessive girlfriend (Nushrat), Raayo’s life is a little more complicated with his girlfriend (Sonalli) still hanging out with her ex-boyfriend while Divyendu’s case is worst as he is being taken for a royal ride by a girl (Ishita) who may or may not have developed feelings for him. In short, all three pretty much find themselves being treated as a ‘kutta’ which is in perfect synch with the overall mood and theme of the film.
The film sees its graph peaking up a number of times due to certain individualistic scenes. The best of the lot is the five minute long monologue by Kartik where he goes about cursing women for all the trouble in one’s life. Priceless. His bedroom scene with Nushrat where he tries to make his way out of an argument with no success is hilarious as well. On the other hand Divyendu is a riot as he just manages to walk a couple of extra steps and steal the scene. Watch out for him in the opening scene at a ‘dhabha’, his first interaction with Ishita where she accuses him of being a ‘chep’ (a pest) and especially the one towards the pre-climax when he gets his revenge.
Comparatively Raayo doesn’t have many comic scenes to his credit but he compensates for that by playing a serious level leaded guy well. He emotes well in an understated manner. Amongst the girls, Nushrat has the meatiest role and she plays it all well too without going overboard. Ishita looks bewitching and given the good roles, she has the potential to move ahead in Bollywood. She also acts every bit the kind of (opportunistic) young women one comes across in cosmopolitan cities. Sonalli plays her glamorous part well and would certainly be the most hated one (due to her characterisation). Still, credit to her for getting it right.
Any blemishes in this overall fun affair? Well, at the very beginning of the film you do end up spending some time joining the dots and understanding the characters. Also for around 15 odd minutes in the second half, there is a bit of monotony that sets in where you start feeling that the boys should just walk out of their relationship sooner than later. A little smoothness here or there could have made it an out and out laugh riot. Also, towards the very end you do feel if an out and out humour-filled scene would have helped in bringing a perfect culmination for the characters.
Nevertheless you still come out of the film happy with not just the promotional track (Kutta) doing the trick but also other songs like ‘Chak Glassi’ and ‘Ishq Na Kariyo’ playing in your mind as well. They go well with the youthful flavour of the film. Also, unlike many a slapstick affairs where the jokes disappear sooner than later, in case of ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’ they stay on with you for much longer, hence resulting in a repeat value for the film.
All said and done, you have good expectations from the film and you get more than what was being promised.