Given how fresh Raj Thackeray's comments are in everyone's minds, this film's timing couldn't have been better and maybe that's why Ravi Kissen and the other actors hardly participated in any promotional events. It's bound to attract some viewers to the cinema on account of curiosity but these poor souls are bound to feel cheated.
'Jeena Hai Toh Thok Daal' from the trailers seemed like any other gangster film, with lots of blood and gore but the film was more funny, than violent. The action scenes lasted only for a few seconds and were just a garnish to the plot, rather than the main ingredient.
What's it about?
The film is about four small-time gangsters; Chandrabhand (Ravi Kissen), Atka (Manish Vatsalya), Mehku Kaka (Yashpal Sharma) and Bitwa (Rahul Kumar of '3 idiots' fame). The four travel from a small village in the Poornia district of Bihar to Mumbai to kill the daughter (Hazel) of media baron, Pawar (Govind Namdev). Along the way, several masala potboiler elements are thrown in, from a change of heart, an item number in the village, a love story, a chor-police chase and some action-packed sequences.
Kissen as the sensible gangster is a bit disappointing. The 'Ravi Kissen' in him doesn't get into the skin of the character of Chandrabhand. He has the best role and yet doesn't even try, but not everyone can be a Salman Khan! In scenes where he has to laugh out loud, the Bhojpuri 'star' comes out and makes the proceedings awkward. But his presence will certainly light up the screen for his loyal fans, many of whom couldn't stop whistling every moment he appeared on screen during the show.
Vatsalya doubles up as director and actor. He is the only one who makes a shiver run down your spine with just his kohl-eyed stare. As the loyal younger brother, Vatsalya is confident, creepy and dangerous - in short, the only one of the four capable of 'thok daal na'. We think his acting scores over the direction.
Yashpal Sharma and Rahul Kumar as Mehku and Bitwa put in effortless performances. Sharma having mastered the art of playing village roles (remember him in Lagaan?) is easy on the eye. His expressions and dialogue delivery is brilliant and he gets the most laughs.
Jeena Hai Toh Thok Daal still
Rahul Kumar is entertaining, but his character is not well etched out and within minutes, you realise that he is only there for comic relief. Hardly ever even touching the gun, Rahul Kumar is like the child amidst a group of contract killers. Also, he looks like a regular city boy in cargo shorts and tees, rather than from a small village in Bihar. Nevertheless, you can't find any fault with his acting.
Murli Sharma as the paan-chewing police officer is convincing, but Govind Namdev as the media baron has done a bad job. Hazel Crowney as Shrishti is over acting personified. Whether going to the temple, shopping or getting hit by a bullet, her expression remains the same! She seems like a last minute addition to the cast, when the priorities of the producers changed from hiring someone who can act to anyone who can fit their small budget.
An item song in the film called 'Palang Tod' deserves special mention as you would have never seen an item girl with so many tires of fat dancing in a skimpy lehenga-choli. Even choreographer Ganesh Acharya shaking a leg in the song will not be able to distract you from the horror of that sight.
The plot of the film is porous and hardly holds your attention. An hour into the movie and you curse yourself for asking the usher to deliver a tub of popcorn to your seat, rather than having gone and got it yourself.
What to do?
It's worth a morning show in a run-down single screen theatre where the crowd's whistling and hooting alone will be paisa vasool. Watch only if you're a die-hard Ravi Kissen fan.
in.com rating: 1.5/5
For more reviews, photos and videos of the film, go here.
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