Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review: Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji [3 Idiots and... Love]

DIL TOH BACCHA HAI JI (2011) दिल तो बच्चा है जी

Title-translation: "The heart is still a child"
Director: Madhur Bhandarkar
Author: Madhur Bhandarkar, Anil Pandey, Neeraj Udhwani, Sanjay Chhel
Starring: Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Omi Vaidya

Plot: Naren moves back to his child home - his parents are dead. Because the house is so big, he searches for some tenants and finds them in a employee, who'd like to be a poet - Milind - and the unemployed fitness teacher/ toy boy Abhay. All three of them have problems concerning love: Naren is attracted to a 17-years younger intern, while Milind falls in love with a radio VJane, interviewing him after a poet contest. Meanwhile, Abhay indulges in the luxury of being toy boy an ex-Miss-India, when suddenly he falls in love with her (grown-up) step daughter.

Written the 13th of March 2011
Madhur Bhandarkar is known for experimenting in his films, trying out unusual tactics, and establishing his actors welll (I'm talking about Fashion, Traffic Signal, Page 3 and the only film I'd seen from him until now: Corporate). With DTBHJ, he's jumping into the genre of rom-com for the very first time, this time with two well-known actors plus Omi Vaidya, who could already bring home the bacon in 3 Idiots. Besides, we have three until now rather unknown ladies. The male cast is one of the evident powers of the film, while it's possible to discuss the female part: In a unusual role for him, Ajay Devgn earns sympathy as charming pencil pusher/ male Naina (the one from Kal Ho Naa Ho). He also proves, that his otherwise nice voice isn't exactly adequate for singing.

Take a look at Emraan's trousers... 
Can't have everything. Shazahn Padamsee plays his "Object of Desire" - and here's the first crossroad we have; she's looking sweet, she's charming, her acting is all right, and I might be able to get used to her squeaking voice. Sadly, I also know, that most people won't be able to do that, and also they won't be able to accept her (current) lack of "X-factor". That's why I can already see her undergoing the same destiny as Kim Sharma and Esha Deol . That is, unless people are so attached to her, like for example to Deepika Padukone (and I'd rather see Sharma or Deol instead of her), that she can make it somehow. If that is what'll happen, I hope she takes that chance and get's it right.

Rumour has it, that Madhuri Dixit has been thrilled by Emraan Hashmi's portrayal of the usual Casanova-role, and as always, I agree. It's especially nice that he's able to portray this character in a slightly different filmic level than otherwise, and I think I'm not alone with that thought. Even though the main theme of the film is sex (and not love, though I bet the makers wanted it to be love), the level isn't drowning as much as it uses to in similar films, but stays near Sex & the City (a show/ film that I like, but don't idolize). Only huge minus is caused by the distinct discrimination of homosexual persons, which is much more conspicuous than in Anjaana Anjaani for instance. A "reputable" filmmaker does not need this, especially with a film, that's quite entertaining otherwise. Then there's one sentence at the beginning, about the life of Emraan's character Abhay, which should have been edited away quickly - just like the rest of those "introducing" sentences. Not working here; the audience doesn't like to be treated as if it's totally dumb or stupid.

I also wasn't very fond of Abhay's big love, Nikki: She pitches herself as a big charity-lady, and talks about original Indian qualities - in born-and-bred Hinglish?! Face covered with make-up, wearing an outfit that doesn't even have a touch of traditional Indian clothes? Furthermore, we never get to know her very well, which is why the sudden falling-in-love also lacks a fundamental credibility.
Somehow, I also don't have big problem with the age
difference. Reason: It's mentioned (!).

The "Hinglish-source-of-irritation" shows up in a different situation as well, namely when Milind recites his poems, which seem to be "good" only because they're in Hinglish. Not a patch on Hinglish, I don't see a big problem in using it, but however there are circumstances, under which its usage is rather semi-optimal. Apart from that, Omi Vaidya is adorable and cute - by the way, I was surprised that I liked his "Dream Girl" Gungun, played by Shraddha Das, somehow. She was indeed both honest and fake, and very capricious against him, but she just had something. Perhaps Shraddha Das just comes with a bigger portion of talent than the rest of that female guard, but I'm not able to tell after one film only.

What I liked about the film was, that it never became "uncomfortable", you were (almost) never ashamed, and that despite this... well, not very fancy story. Just one scene at the end got one or two soap-opera-splashes too much. I don't want to tell you to much, but to the makers: a little less dharamdham, when someone tells his/her girl/boy friend, that he/she has fallen in love with someone else. Better let the still piano go on. Apropos music: The soundtrack is okay, nothing special, but nice.

Then what is my conclusion, now... Let's put it this way: You can see this film, but you don't have to. In the field of films-named-after-great-songs, it delivers a much better performance than many others, like for example Aashayein (2010).

Rating: 5.0

Thank you for reading,
Mette M. K.


  1. Awww, Mette! I really liked DTBHJ! Ok, mostly because of Ajay Devgan who susprised me completely with his portrayal of a 40 something going through midlife crisis. Just brilliant!!! And great chemistry with Emraan Hashmi, they played wonderfully off each other. And let's give credit where it's due, for once the "3 idiots" were well cast in their characters' age groups :)

    When you get into Southie films you will see Shradha Das a little more often, I looooved her in Arya 2, but then I pretty much love everything about that film.

    I do agree with some of your criticism, and found the romance between Emraan and the snotty bitch very half baked, but on the other hand I really liked how his relationship with Tisca Chopra got portrayed. And I really don't think the film makers wanted it to be about love. I think they quite intended to make all these stories (at least 2 of them) focus more on desire (in all aspects, but mostly sex) than on higher feelings.

    In regards to your criticism of Omi's awful poetry in Hinglish, I was thinking during the film that he would make a very successful song writer in Bollywood these days :) I actually like to think that was done on purpose, Madhur Bhandarkar has a very fine nose for satire and I see him perfectly capable of being facetious that way. He's a master of subtle but laser-sharp criticism (just as long as we exclude Fashion from his oeuvre, I consider that one his biggest fail) :) Try Traffic Signal and Page 3 when you get a chance, you'll see what I mean.

    At any rate, I really liked this movie for the ending :) And for the acting.

  2. @ Dolce and Namak: Maybe I shouldn't have taken everything so serious, then. :)

    The end is great, and I'm quite excited for the sequel.


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