The first teaser campaign of Ferrari Ki Sawaari had almost zero footage from the film. All it said, and in bold, big fonts, was that itwas from the makers of Lage Raho Munna Bhai and 3 Idiots. No, Vinod Chopra Films was not just promoting the hit bit, but also the fact that here comes another 18-reel celebration of goodness. Unadulterated, wholesome goodness.
In fact, by the time this Ferrari crosses the chequered flag and eachand every character, including the corrupt politician and his gundason, starts cheering for our little hero in the middle, you wonderwhich city of dreams is this fairy tale set in. Certainly notShanghai! Maybe Hirani Nagar.
Although credited here just as the dialogue writer, Rajkumar Hirani’sshadow looms large on Rajesh Mapuskar’s first film. That means oodles and oodles of Gandhigiri.
The twist in the tale? While Munna Bhai is a bad guy forced to do good, Rusy here is a good guy forced to do bad. This reversal automatically results in less fun and more funda.
The goal, er pitch, of the film is set pretty early. Twelve-year-old
Kayo (Ritvik Sahore) is a promising cricketer who stays with his father Rusy (Sharman Joshi in his first solo lead) and grandfather Deboo (Boman Irani). Pappa is a head clerk at the Worli RTO andto arrange Rs 1.5 lakh for his son’s cricket camp at Lord’s is next toimpossible.
And there vrooms in the Ferrari. Rusy knows a wedding planner who is organising a gala Italian theme shaadi for a local politician and the big daddy wants his son to lead the baraati, not on a horse, but on “560 horse power”. Read: Sachin Tendulkar’s Ferrari (actually it was a 360 Modena gifted to him by Michael Schumacher, and which Sachin sold last year to Surat’s Jayesh Gandhi).
The rest of the film is about how Rusy manages to get hold of thescarlet stunner and how the Prancing Horse has everyone running after it, from Byculla to Bandra. On the parallel track racing alongside the Ferrari is Deboo’s backstory of being a top-notch cricketer and how he was tricked into oblivion by his friend (Paresh Rawal cameo).
In following the classic story arcs, writer Mapuskar (screenplayco-written with Vinod Chopra) lets loose so many threads that tying them up one by one makes the second half — and hence the film — way overlong. The grandfather-grandson thread, the old-friends-now-foes thread, the politician-baap-gunda-beta thread, the security-officer-Tendulkar servant-thread… all eat up so much reel time in the middle of a simple Rusy-Kayo story that it all seems so stretched in the last hour.
Make no mistake, there are lots of goodies on offer if you take the sawaari. It’s almost an anthology of heartwarming moments, of moments that simultaneously pinch a smile and milk a tear out of you.
The attention to detail is astonishing and the mise en scene is rooted in such reality that you almost feel like a member of the bittersweet Parsi family.
The quality of acting is up there. Ritvik the kid is a natural and is thankfully not used manipulatively to melodramatise proceedings. Sharman’s character as the very epitome of goodness — his Rusy is called Raja Harishchandra and his virtues made fun of — is single-toned and sometimes a tad too bland but you root for his mission nevertheless.
And there’s something about Vinod Chopra Films that brings the best out of Boman Irani. After Dr Asthana (Munna Bhai MBBS), Lucky Singh (Lage Raho Munna Bhai) and Virus Sahasrabuddhe (3 Idiots), get your hands together for Behram Deboo. Bordering on caricature yes, but you can’t not enjoy Boman’s performance as the wily old man ready to take up a fight for his family.
It’s not just because the lines are written by Hirani, they do deserve a special mention. Some of them are memorable sure but almost all of them are effective for the scene on show. Like when the grandpa discovers the immense cricket talent in his grandson, the one-time champion Deboo tells his son: “Kayo ko ek tip dena…” and then a pause later says. “Jaise woh khelta hai khelne de.”
Oh, there’s that Vidya Balan item number, right? That’s just for bringing in the audiences and is not a natural integration in the script.
A Sachin cameo at the end would have been great though. But then how good can you possibly feel?
A couple of days back, more than a couple of Twitter updates and BBM statuses read: “I want to be a Parsi.” Why? On Monday, the Bombay Parsi Panchayat revised the definition of a ‘poor Parsi’ to one who earns up to Rs 90,000 per month! After watching Ferrari Ki Sawaari you too may want to be a Parsi. But for reasons a touch closer to the heart.