Movie Review: Raja Natwarlal
Will this con film make for a great weekend treat? City 1016's Lokesh Dharmani on Raja Natwarlal
Director: Kunal Deshmukh
Starring: Emraan Hashmi, Humaima Malick, Paresh Rawal, Kay Kay Menon
Rating: 2 stars
Yesterday, Emraan Hashmi told me that there are about seven kissing scenes in Raja Natwarlal. Now that I have got your attention, let me break it to you, all of them are omitted for the UAE release. What’s left then in the film, you ask? Well, there’s Humaima Malick’s midriff, Paresh Rawal’s and Kay Kay Menon’s intensity and a plot that has loopholes big enough for five Dolly Bindras to fit in.
Con films demand deft writing, logical and intricate detailing to cover all the gaps. I would have loved the film if I was a three-year-old. Alas, the makers underestimated the IQ of the viewers. They thought we were as naïve (I am being so polite) as Varda Yadav (Kay-Kay-not-a-singer-but-actor-Menon), who despite being a big business tycoon is duped by the street rogue Raja (Emran-muah-Hashmi). In Yadav’s world, there is only one Google search, one phone call, to check on the authenticity of one cricket team. And he happily shells out ONE hundred-jaw-drops in just ONE DAY! One bullet in my head is all I need. And mind you, he is the same guy who knows cricket from the back of his hand, including the weight of the bat that Sir Don Bradman used in a match in 1971.
Raja is a street con artist who avenges his moonh-bola brother’s murder (Deepak-after-such-a-long-time-Tijori) by declaring war against Varda Yadav. He seeks Yogi’s help (Paresh Rawal) to sell a CL 20 (read IPL) team that never exists. They keep talking about a plan that’s never discussed with the viewers. Maybe they didn’t have one. Anyway the ‘plans’ are mercilessly busted by a not-so-busty Ziya (Raja’s girlfriend) as she sneaks up on him when he is just about to crack the deal with Varda Yadav. What follows is a cock-and-bull story that Varda readily buys into, a few songs and a climax of bidding a CL team and a police raid, all of which are written so badly that they make Chetan Bhagat seem worthy of a Booker.
If acting meant kissing, Emraan Hashmi would be Al Pacino of Bollywood. Though he exudes his regular charm and confidence, he fails to crack the character. He loves his bar dancer girlfriend Ziya so much that every night he visits the dance bar to squander money on her. He lovingly throws bills at her and is frustrated when outdone by someone else at the bar. Wow, women empowerment ki mom’s eyes.
Humaima-another-Malick-in-Bollywood-after-Veena-Malik must have been an asset to the makers. Every time they get confused about what to do, they insert a song featuring Humaima. In a nutshell, she is the harbinger of pointless songs in the movie. I laughed out loud when they inserted a seven-feet long song after a crucial scene where Yadav almost learns that Raja is conning him. It’s all justified, yaar. What’s the use of shooting at foreign locations if we can’t offer a Cape Town darshan to our viewers? So we hire the Big Bus tour, a fancy car, a big massive yacht and a chance to the serial kisser to get up, close and personal with the newcomer.
Some of the dialogues have interesting wordplay and are written keeping Mumbai in mind, but nothing (including actors like Paresh Rawal and Kay Kay Menon) saves the film.
Raja Natwarlal is the kind of con film where fake Wikipedia pages are created in a nano second, fake meetings are unconvincingly fixed, the year’s biggest cricket bidding is magically orchestrated with life-size kiosks and branding in place and big numbers are thrown at you- Rs 100 crore, Rs 500 crore, Rs 1,500 crore that have neither any solid context nor effect.
Go watch Raja Natwarlal only if you dig con films, or else dig deep into your DVD collection and watch Khosla Ka Ghosla or Special 26.