Director: Shoojit Sircar
Indian Express Ratings:***
How do you say the word ‘sperm’ without instantly flashing to where it comes from? It’s one of those seminal words which is a marvel of free association, and whose end result is bawling babies. But to get there, you need, um, a bit of the above mentioned bodily fluid, excreted in situations which are, in most parts of the civilised world, private and personal.
To have a mainstream Hindi movie move it into the open is another marvel. That’s who Vicky Donor aka Arora (Khurrana) is. He donates sperm. And he does it after much persuasion from the irrepressible Dr Chaddha (Kapoor), who runs an infertility clinic, and provides smiles and succour to the childless couples streaming into his hole in the wall clinic. Once Vicky gets past his reluctance to do this gandaa kaam, he becomes an active participant for the lovely lolly, which inevitably leads him into conflict with his widowed, beauty parlour-running mother (Ahluwalia), and the love of his life, stand-offish bank officer Ashima Roy(Gautam).
“Strass”, opines the good doctor in a Punjabi accent that has not been bettered in a while in Hindi movies, is the reason why urban couples cannot increase the population despite all their strivings. “Gaon mein toh dekh bhar le, bas”, he says, wiggling his fingers in a graphic spermy way. These truisms come tumbling out with gale force, making virile Aryaputra Vicky brandish little vials of the good stuff after his times in the room stocked with colourful DVDs and magazines. And make us laugh. In a good way.
Sircar’s film, a morality tale wrapped up as a fun bon-bon, delivers enough sparkles to make us overlook the sagging bits. And that’s got to do with the perky writing, which leads to fresh characters who speak as they ought to, in flavourful, authentic settings. Delhi’s “rafugee clony” Lajpat Nagar has been the source of many Bollywood settings, given its preponderance of Punjabis, poky flats, and adjoining terraces yielding to neighbourhood dalliances. Ashima’s ‘baba’ and ‘pishima’ appear to talk down the ‘Punjes’ and up the intellectual Bengali quotient, and work despite the broad stereotypes being held up, because they are ring true. “Haii, meri bahu machli khaane wali Bangalan niklegi”, says Dolly aunty, frying parathas furiously. “Those Panjabis (accent on the ‘a’), they drink at their weddings and make too much noise”, says Ashima’s baba, and everyone goes merrily doing what they have to.
The lead pair, both first timers, spark well. Khurrana nails the local layabout, just this short of a lout, looking for a job, not finding one, helping his mother massage ladies’ legs meanwhile. And Gautam does an equally good job with the stay away-from-me, I’m-an- independent-working-woman-and-don’t-need-a-man, before, of course, succumbing. In this movie, of course, it would be ‘scumbing’. But the real stars of the film are the veterans: Kapoor, back after a long gap, is terrific as the doctor who sells sperm and happiness; so is the rocksolid Ahluwalia as the loving, loud Punjabi mom. There’s also Vicky’s daadi (Gill), progressive beyond her years, handing out well-timed homilies: again a character which adds something to the film.
The repetitions, including the different ways you can define “spurrm”, get annoying. Some of the emotional parts get soggy, and the climax, ahem, is contrived. But Vicky Donor’s delights outweigh the not-so-good stuff: give me a Bollywood hero who pulls off a pedicure without prurience, and I will tell you, go see this film.Annu Kapoor Ayushmann Khurrana Indian Express Reviews Shoojit Sircar Shubhra Gupta Vicky Donor Yami Gautam