Monday, October 11

Do Dooni Chaar - The Duggals win your heart.

Movie - Do Dooni Chaar (Hindi)
Director - Habib Faisal
Producers - Arindam Choudhuri, Walt Disney Pictures
Cast - Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Archit Krishna, Aditi Vasudev, Akhilendra Mishra.
Music - Meet Brothers, Anjan, Ankit
Cinematography - Anshuman Mahaley
Editor - Aarti Bajaj
Art - Mukund Gupta 
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - Habib Faisal, Rahil Qazi
Release Date - 8th October 2010

Hindi Cinema has been consistently telling stories of either the extremely rich or the extremely poor. But the Indian middle class is a section that Hindi Cinema has constantly been avoiding (after the Hrishikesh Mukherjee era of course). Other than a Khosla Ka Ghosla, we've never had any good film in recent times that chronicles the lives of one of the biggest sections of India's population - the middle class. What we get on a regular basis are movies like Anjaana Anjaani about filthy rich NRIs (even when they're supposed to be broke) or Aisha about the elite Delhi families. Or otherwise it goes to the other extreme in movies like Peepli Live which showcase the lives of the extremely poor. So, everytime when films such as a Khosla Ka Ghosla or a Do Dooni Chaar comes, it brings a refreshing change from the regular big budget extravaganzas. 

Do Dooni Chaar tells the story of the Duggals, a lower middle class Punjabi family settled in Dilli. Papa Duggal (Rishi Kapoor) is a Maths teacher in a private school and also takes classes at a coaching centre to earn enough to meet his family expenses. Mummy Duggal (Neetu Kapoor) is the typical Indian housewife, and the support system for the entire family. Beti Duggal (Aditi Vasudev) is fed up of their livestyle and is infatuated by the luxurious lifestyles led by her friends. Beta Duggal (Archit Krishna) has all he wants to have (including a girlfriend and an iPhone) with the money he makes from cricket betting. The movie tracks the journey of this family from 2 (an old khataara scooter) to 4 (a brand new Alto car, at the price of a Maruti 800) and the adventures in between. 

The movie is instantly likable and is definitely one of the best films to have come out this year. With a story as simple as that, writer-director Habib Faisal presents a series of lovely incidents in the life of the Duggal family. Instead of showing the miseries that the family goes through to make ends meet, Habib has chosen the awkward and funny situations that the family faces at each stage to tell his story. And while he narrates this rather simplistic tale, he also throws light on a major issue - How the people who lay the foundation for generations in educational institutions are given a raw deal, when their students go on to scale heights in different walks of society. And also shows the values of the upright middle class families who are willing to pay bribes to get things done, but petrified of attempting even the smallest of shortcuts to earn some extra bucks.  

Rishi Kapoor, who must have never experienced even a bit of middle class life in his real life, comes up with a career best performance. The hugely underrated actor is first class as the father, the husband, the teacher and the common man. Rishi Kapoor makes Duggal Saab as real as possible. For example, there's a scene where he's talking to his son and he scratches his backside at some point during the conversation, making the entire atmosphere inside the house so completely natural that we smile at it. A 5 star rating for this man alone!! Neetu Kapoor shows how comebacks have to be made!! After a break of around 30 years, she plays Kkusum Duggal so endearingly well that we cannot imagine any other actress playing that part. And if there's anything called on-screen chemistry, that can be witnessed in plenty between this real life couple in the movie. Aditi Vasudev as the fiery tomboy daughter of Duggal Saab is nothing short of brilliant. Without any inhibitions of a newcomer, she comes up with a fantastic performance. Archit Krishna as the beta Duggal is another amazing performer. Akhilendra Mishra as the hen-pecked husband was hilarious. Rajesh Vivek as the TV Crime reporter was funny. 

The movie has ample emotional moments which make your eyes moist and make you smile, at the same time. At no point does the script get preachy or goes into melodramatic mode. The scene between Rishi Kapoor and the son after the match fixing issue is one brilliant example of how well Habib Faisal has handled such emotional scenes. The dialogues are witty, natural, simplistic and sound the least bit cinematic. The pre-climax goes into Priyadarshan mode with some slapstick sequences. (They're funny nevertheless).  But then a beautiful climax, which poses an important question about the position of teachers in our society, solves it all. Do Dooni Chaar is one of those rare movies where a great script, characterizations, narrative and performances go hand in hand to give you a beautiful experience. 

Cinematography by Anshuman Mahaley and art direction by Mukund Gupta go hand in hand to give a clear picture of the claustrophobic life of the Duggals in their cramped apartment. The art director has done a splendid job as no frame in the movie looks artificial and looks as realistic as it can get. Music by Meet Brothers Ankit and Anjan support the narrative well. 

Anyone and everyone who has had a middle class upbringing would thoroughly enjoy this movie and find it immensely relatable, as many of the events in the movie would have occurred to them as well. A must watch for people from all walks of society, it gives a slice of life picture of middle class families struggling to cope up with the speed in which the rest of the world is progressing. As much about the people of Dilli as it is about the middle class, its a film which has heart in every frame of it. Something which we get to experience only in Rajkumar Hirani's films these days. It is surprising that the writer of films like Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and Ta Ra Rum Pum could come up with a gem like this. As critic Sudhish Kamath pointed out, coming out of the Yash Raj camp can provide some really fruitful results. Its surprising that despite being Walt Disney Pictures' first mainstream Indian film, there is very little promotion being done for this film. This gem of a movie deserves to be watched and it needs much more publicity for people to come and watch it. Lets hope that things improve in the coming days and more people watch this movie after hearing the amazing response it has garnered from almost all possible critics in the country. It ranks among the best films of the year, somewhere between Udaan and Peepli Live. Do not waste any more time, go watch Do Dooni Chaar immediately. 

Rating - 4.25/5

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