Romance clearly has taken a backseat in Bollywood, with filmmakers wanting to cash in on bromance instead.
The concept where boy meets girl and falls hopelessly in love, before running around trees in coloured costumes and swaying to peppy tunes only to fight-off unhappy parents, is just so last season.
In this new age of ‘meaningful cinema’, it’s now about putting the spotlight on a bunch of boys, and throwing them into varied sticky situations and cities, and watching them evolve and buddy up.
It worked wonders for ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, ‘Rang De Basanti’, ‘3 Idiots’, ‘Kai Po Che’, ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, and ‘Rock On!!!’, even attaining cult status for a few. So, it’s obvious why producers Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidwani (who earlier backed DCH and ZNMD) would put their money on this one.
Alas, ‘Fukrey’ just won’t make it to same league as Excel’s earlier buddy flicks.
‘Fukrey’ borrows heavily from the other bromances, even slipping into the ‘Delhi Belly’ tone, only it isn’t as much fun.
The story about four boys – two best buds, and the other two joining the gang later on – who’d take any number of shortcuts to accomplish their dreams isn’t novel but interesting, no doubt, but one that required a tighter edit and a lot of fine-tuning.
The story plods along directionless through most parts, turning this into a stretched out two-hour-and-15-minutes.
One-movie-old director Mrighdeep Singh Lamba earnestly tries to capture the rustic flavour of Delhi through his four boys, who speak in their raw twang and live in the shadows endearingly, but his efforts are far too few to keep us hooked.
The first-half is dedicated entirely on how three guys – Choocha, Hunny and Lali – desperately want to get a seat in the city’s prestigious college, mostly to woo the girls, while there’s a silent musician Zafar, who strums away without any aspiration.
Although they come from different backgrounds they are united in their corrupt thinking and how they’d go to any extent to make their dreams come true.
With their funds drying out, the boys decide to take advantage of Choocha and Hunny’s unique winning combination of cracking the state lottery. They believe it’s their ticket to big times.
Their plan is foolproof and they approach the local female don Bholi Punjaban to back them up.
Things, however, never go as planned, and writers Vipul Vig and Mrighdeep throw the foursome from one sticky situation to another, until it draws in a predictable end.
Despite the pitfalls, ‘Fukrey’ flaunts some truly well-written comic scenes that rely entirely on great lines and subtle performances, something unimaginable on the larger-than-life Bollywood canvas.
Most notable are the scenes that feature Lali with a drifter, who consistently robs him of his biker possessions.
For a movie that presents a bunch of fairly unknown faces, ‘Fukrey’ does flaunt some impressive performances. Varun Sharma as the chubby Choocha, who speaks his mind without any filter, is the most endearing. And so is Manjot Singh. He’s effortlessly pitch-perfect as the love-struck Lali who refuses to join his dad’s eatery.
There’s also the charming Pulkit Samrat, who plays the suave Hunny with aplomb. His influences clearly date back to the Khans, something that’s not a minus, at least not at this stage.
Ali Fazal walks aimlessly with his guitar and is the weakest link of the lot.
And, while the focus is clearly on the boy gang, there are three women who get a few scenes as well.
Of them, it’s Richa Chadda who gets the larger chunk, and the most menacing part. After her tough act in ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, this movie doesn’t explore her true potential. She’s fun to watch, but a tad caricaturish for our liking.
The other two pretty damsels are Vishaka Singh and Priya Anand, who are fairly faultless, but the script doesn’t allow us or them to actually get involved beyond a point.
‘Fukrey’ is a good attempt, but just not good enough.