Cast: Irrfan Khan, Dulquer Salman, Mithila Palkar, Amala Akkineni, Bina, Akash Khurana, Kriti Kharbanda
Director: Akarsh Khurana
Rating: * * ½
This one’s supposedly a road-trip that brings together three discontented souls on a slice-of-life journey that has been contrived to be comforting and rather healing. So from Bengaluru, to Mysore, Ooty, Kottayam, Kumarakom and eventually Kochi, the odd trio – Avinash (Dulquer), a software engineer, Shaukat (Irrfan Khan) a garage owner and a typical millennial, Tania (Mithila Palkar) – a negligent, alcohol steeped hostelite, travel on clueless in a Van, followed closely by enforcers out to reclaim the money their Boss lent to Shaukat.
If Akarsh Khurana’s earlier effort, “High Jack” was a stoner comedy, this one fits into being an alcohol-induced one where a relaxed, homely plotline makes lethargy seem like a virtue and the attempts to install humour, rest entirely on Irrfan Khan’s ability to deliver the weirdest of lines with excellent comical cadence and timing while wearing a straight face. Dulquer carries a serious look while Mithila Palkar wears a dazed expression that rarely blossoms into a smile. They might as well have been cardboard cut-outs – that’s as much difference they make to the experience.
Adhir Bhatt’s scripting of a bizarre Bejoy Nambiar idea is sloppy and careless with a lot many inconsistencies in the plotting. The age and class differences between the three is key to their evolving chemistry, but its never developed to the extent that it becomes meaningful or sublime.
Avinash who doesn’t seem to have any issues regarding money could well have hired a hearse to transport the body, but he seeks out his friend’s van without even ensuring the preservation of the body he has agreed to transport. Avinash’s backstory of having a despotic Dad (Akash Khurana) who corrals him into working in a secure job as a computer engineer, rather than following his own passion as a photographer, seems outdated in representative terms.
Tania is another character who seems entirely out of sorts. She is supposed to be close to the grandmother whose body they are transporting, but there’s really no true emotion being expressed in that regard here. Instead, the three are seen chit-chatting, indulging in silly slap-stick and delinquent behaviour. Even the road-trip indulgences ring hollow. We never get to experience either the culture or the changes in behaviour as they move from one region to the next. The scenic transitions mean little in such a context. Khurana’s attempt to find humour in pain remains underdeveloped and the only gravitas here comes from a tragically emaciated looking Irrfan Khan’s humorously enticing turn. The rest is mere posturing.