By Martin D'Souza, Glamsham Editorial
We have been shown actors and actresses struggle on screen waiting for that one big break. The alleged functioning of Bollywood when it comes to the giving a break to strugglers has been canned for posterity on screen. There has been Zoya Akhtar's LUCK BY CHANCE starring her brother Farhan. Recently, The DIRTY PICTURE showed us the ugly side of the industry. KHOYA KHOYA CHAND, to some extent, also exposed the way Bollywood functions.
MERE DOST PICTURE ABHI BAAKI HAI is another struggler's story, but this time it is from behind the camera. The protagonist here is a director who has come to India fresh from London after dabbling in a course for directors. The director is a small time lad from Benaras who has grown up on a healthy diet of Hindi films. He has got a tightly-bound script, based on a true story on an investigative journalist. His only link to Bollywood is his friend, who too is struggling for bit roles as a background artiste.
Amar Joshi (Suniel Shetty) is this director who is looking for a producer. He knows he has a winner on his hands but when the rounds to prospective producers begin, he understands what the industry wants. Sex, sex and more sex... while still others want, romance, drama and action thrown in... still others want to only titillate. In short, Amar's story is massacred at the story-telling level itself which has him in a state of shock.
Finally, he finds a wiling producer. But soon he realizes that an underworld Don is behind the funding, when the producer disappears. The don then wants his moll in the film, any role will do. When it transpires that she cannot act, he wants an item number... in different clothes, in different locations. The Don is shot dead mid-way through the shooting.
The old producer resurfaces throwing in a legendary writer to spruce up the script. What then happens is what was waiting to happen in the first instance when Amar started doing the rounds of the producers. By the end of the shooting, there are so many twists and turns within the script that what the story was originally meant to be and what it ultimately turns out are two different things. To cut the long story short, the film is a hit and Amar finds himself in the big league.
When newer directors come to him with story ideas, the tables are now turned. Amar has conformed to the standards of the industry -- quality is not what he is looking for. Sex is a must!
Making his debut as a director, Rajnish Raj Thakur, has a good script at hand. The first half of the film entertains with the way he depicts the struggle of Suniel Shetty. The opening narration is indeed novel where he alludes to the beginning of Indian cinema from silent to what it now is. In a swift move, with various producers, Thakur, encapsulates the mindset (which falls in the majority category) of the industry. It is only in the second half that he bores as the film drags. All the promise he shows before the break fizzles out.
Om Puri as the writer, who keeps tweaking the script at will, is funny at first then gets boring. You don't really care then what he wants to do to the movie.
Suniel Shetty coming on screen after a long hiatus is impressive in bits, while Rajpal Radav as the eternal struggler is entertaining.
MERE DOST PICTURE ABHI BAAKI HAI promised a lot, but has been let down by over-enthusiasm from the director.
Or did the producer meddle with the original script? Just a thought!
Rating - 2/5