Friday, May 18, 2007
Experimentation is the new mantra today. The past few monsoons have seen the dream merchants envisioning stories that strike the right balance between real and make-believe. 'Think out of the box' and 'Push the envelope' are expressions that echo every alternate Friday.
One cannot classify Ek Chalis Ki Last Local in any particular genre. There are light moments, hilarious moments, tense moments, dramatic moments, mad moments... Debutante director Sanjay Khanduri tries to pack in everything in those 2 + hours. No issues with that, but what could've been conveyed in a concise format of 1.30 / 1.45 hours is stretched to 2 + hours for no reason. A number of sequences are stretched for no reason, thereby diluting the impact.
Yet, there's no denying that Ek Chalis Ki Last Local is engrossing at most points. Only if the debutante director and his editor would've used the scissors more judiciously! Ek Chalis Ki Last Local is about two people who miss the last local train at 1.40 a.m. to Vikhroli and have full two-and-a-half hours before the next local will arrive. The tale revolves around Nilesh [Abhay Deol], a call center executive, and how missing the last train home proves to be a significant episode in his life.
Nilesh bumps into Madhu [Neha Dhupia], who has also missed her train on the same station and because there is an auto strike, the duo finds themselves getting together and soon seated in a desi bar for some time pass before their next train.
Ek Chalis Ki Last Local unravels in the most natural manner. The characters are straight out of life and the situations they land into are identifiable by those living in a metropolis, especially Mumbai. But the film doesn't catch your attention from the very start. The goings-on get exciting when Abhay and Neha enter a bar and Abhay starts gambling to make a fast buck.
A few portions episodes in the story raise the bar, like the gambling sequence and also when Neha lands up at Snehal Dabhi's house to pay off the ransom amount. Also, the sequences involving Deepak Shirke and Abhay Deol may appear crass, but are bound to raise laughs.
Ek Chalis Ki Last Local doesn't have any flaws as such, barring the fact that its theme is very Mumbai-centric and also its length is unwarranted. The film should be trimmed by at least 20 minutes to make the goings-on crisper. A few scenes tend to get repetitive. A few are stretched endlessly. A few were just not required. The ending too goes on and on. Ideally, the film should've ended the moment Abhay lays his hands on the booty in Deepak Shirke's house.
Director Sanjay Khanduri has the trappings of a fine storyteller. He has handled a number of sequences with dexterity and not once do you feel that is his debut film. Cinematography is consistent. The background score is jarring.
Abhay Deol comes up with an honest performance yet again. Actually, he carries the middle class look very well. Neha Dhupia proves herself in latter reels, when her true identity is exposed. Virendra Saxena is okay. His lady accomplice is fantastic. Ashok Samarth as the cop is excellent. Snehal Dabhi as the eunuch is tremendous. The actor enacting the role of Ponappa is first-rate. Deepak Shirke is incredible.
On the whole, Ek Chalis Ki Last Local is a decent fare that stands out for a few individualistic episodes in the narrative. At the box-office, the film caters to the multiplex audience mainly, especially big city multiplexes. Business in Mumbai multiplexes should be better due to its Mumbaiya flavour.
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