Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Annu Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Aditi Sharma, Kay Kay Menon, Vijay Raaz, Lushin Dubey
Director: Sanjeev Sharma
Rating: * * ½
Runtime: 139 mins
A wannabe madcap comedy caper, this dramedy set in distinctive old Delhi has a group of seven unlikely crooks teaming up to steal a treasure that legend says is hidden within the ramparts of an old haveli whose ownership is contentious.
While Pappi(Manoj Bajpayee) has masterminded it in order to prove himself a worthy suitor for Sona(Aditi Sharma) and to nix Tejpal’s amorous attempts in that direction, the rest are in it just to add up to account for the titular number. Even their inclusion in the plan is very much contrived and without justifiable motivation.
So off they go, one night after Pappi has faked his own death- in order to escape suspicion. Sona, Pappi in disguise, Jaggi(Vijay Raaz), Khappe(Aparshakti Khurana), Babbe(Jatin Sarna), Ajji(Vipul Vig) and Haggu(Nitin Bhasin) find their way into the back entry of the seemingly deserted haveli only to learn that the information they possessed was far way off from the reality of it. The haveli itself is a little too huge for them to cover in one night while the Diwan(Anupam Kher) is very much in residence and firing on twin bores, contrary to their expectations. And on top of it all, Bicchi(Annu Kapoor) an escapee from the mental asylum also happens to have infiltrated the unguarded fortress just as easily.
Since the narrative was literally going nowhere in it’s singularly unexciting spiel the director resorts to magic realism in his effort to make this effort a little more high-minded. Unfortunately that gimmick comes unstuck and boomerangs badly on the so far gritty experience. While the milieu and the setting is picture-perfect, the plotting is hallucinatory and the contrivances are pretty much obvious.
The language in use is guttural – every sentence is littered with expletives, but the performances have distinctive heft. This is a satire gone horribly bad- the vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings here are glorified rather than held up to ridicule, while the sarcasm and humor are sorely missing. This form of crude, sociable unconscionable story-telling is better suited to the theatre format. Cinema requires far greater expertise and finesse.