Sometimes, your reputation precedes you. Pradeep Sarkar carries the reputation of making women-centric movies. Films like PARINEETA and LAAGA CHUNARI MEIN DAAG prove it. Who would've ever thought Sarkar would do a 360 degree turn in his third film by calling it LAFANGEY PARINDEY, set it in a chawl and make his characters speak tapori lingo? Hard to digest, isn't it? Frankly, the skilled storyteller takes you on a trip least expected from him.
When you attempt something you haven't attempted earlier or ventured into before, you either fall flat on your face or walk with your chin up in air. Sarkar doesn't slip, although LAFANGEY PARINDEY does have its share of hiccups that show up intermittently. Unlike PARINEETA and LAAGA CHUNARI MEIN DAAG, Sarkar narrates a simple story this time around and though it has nothing to do with the Rajesh Khanna - Mumtaz - Meena Kumari starrer DUSHMUN, you can't help but draw parallels with it, which, frankly, could be a coincidence as well. Yet, to be fair to Sarkar, he ventures in an unknown territory like a seasoned player.
On the flipside, the film has a major flaw and that dilutes the impact to an extent: Casting Neil Nitin Mukesh as a tapori. He just doesn't look like one. Even if he tries very hard to get into the skin of the character, you just can't connect with him since the suave and dashing demeanor makes him look like a Harvard returned, not someone from the streets or wadis of Mumbai definitely.
Final word? Sure, it has its share of shortcomings, but is an engaging watch nonethess.
LAFANGEY PARINDEY is about a group of youngsters living in the backstreets of Mumbai. It is the love story of Nandu [Neil Nitin Mukesh] and Pinky [Deepika Padukone].
One-Shot Nandu takes boxing to a new level by knocking down his opponents - blindfolded. Needless to say, One-Shot lives life on his own terms and is a local hero amongst his friends. But all that changes when he meets Pinky.
Pinky works at a mall, but is a kickass dancer on skates. Strong-headed, talented and fiercely ambitious, she aspires to rise above all the 'losers' living in her locality and carve a niche for herself. Two different personalities. Two different lives. Destined to meet.
LAFANGEY PARINDEY starts with gusto! Also, it moves on a singular path, without diversifying into unwanted sub-plots and superfluous characters. In fact, the story takes off at the commencement of the film itself and how Neil and Deepika's lives get intertwined makes for interesting viewing.
The film has some truly engaging moments and most of them are in its first hour. Sequences between Neil and Deepika after the accident are wonderful and keep you hooked. However, things begin to slacken in the post-interval portions, when the love story takes over and Neil and Deepika realize that they share a deeper bond. Just when things are about to go downhill, the climax happens and LAFANGEY PARINDEY is back on track. In fact, the drama in the finale - when Deepika and Neil have to perform the final act for a television show - is the highpoint of this film. The skating sequences and choreography are stunning and awe-inspiring.
Blemishes? Oh yes! The love story is conventional and dreary. Also, the investigating officer's track is half-baked and looks like an add-on. Besides, the film is embellished with a mediocre musical score [R. Anandh]. Also, the Bambaiya Hindi has its limitations.
Like I pointed out earlier, Neil is the wrong choice for this part. Also, he lacks the fire to carry off the role with flourish. LAFANGEY PARINDEY clearly belongs to Deepika Padukone, who suits the character and enacts it with such competence that it leaves you amazed. The pretty lass is only getting better with every film. Piyush Mishra is first-rate. Kay Kay Menon is okay in a brief role. The friends, each them, leave a mark. Especially Namit Das, who's wonderful. Shiamak Davar, Juhi Chawla and Javed Jafferi feature in brief roles.
On the whole, LAFANGEY PARINDEY may be predictable, but is engaging and entertaining nonetheless. A decent watch!