Bhetali Tu Punha review: Chandrakant Kanse's tribute to Imtiaz Ali?

Release Date: 28 Jul 2017 / Rated: U / 02hr 00min

Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

The Vaibhav Tatwawadi and Pooja Sawant-starrer has a pleasing first half and a dull second.

In all his movies till date, filmmaker Imtiaz Ali has made a guy and a girl meet for the first time and fall in love while accidentally travelling together. Director Chandrakant Kanse’s Marathi movie Bhetali Tu Punha seems to be a tribute to Ali as the film follows a similar plot. The good news is that it works in the first half very well. The second half, however, fails to maintain the interest. 

Bhetali Tu Punha is based in Pune. Alok (Vaibhav Tatwawadi) is highly educated and earns well. As it is with most traditional families, Alok's is desperate to get him married. After a lot of prodding, Alok finally agrees to see a girl by visiting her family. During the meeting, the girl, Ashwini (Pooja Sawant) puts on an act of being traditional. This puts the guy off and he rejects her. 

After a few months, Alok decides to go to Goa for some office work. He bumps into Ashwini at the railway station, which makes it awkward as he had rejected her. Co-incidentally, her seat is just opposite Alok’s. During the journey, Alok gets irritated by Ashwini’s behaviour. But he also realises that she is quite different from what he had seen that day in her house. What does Ashwini think of Alok? 

The greatest challenge of making a romantic, urban film today, is to make the audience feel good despite the predictability of the story. Bhetali Tu Punha does that well in the first half. It is the continuous dose of subtle humour that keeps you interested. This ensures that you don’t mind the few flaws and the similarity with Rohit Shetty’s Chennai Express (2013) as far as the train travel in the film is concerned. The technique used in presentation is quite fresh, especially the way Tatwawadi’s character speaks with the audience. 

But as soon as the second half begins after the interval, the film starts suffering from the 'second half syndrome' and unfortunately doesn’t recover from it. The grip, which was formed before, is lost due to lacklustre writing from here on. Nothing happens in terms of story development and you just wish for the film to end due to boredom. 

And when the climax does arrive, you realise that the idea is strikingly too similar to the Hindi film Kyun! Ho Gaya Na... (2004) to ignore. So, in a way it’s a khichdi (mixture) of that film, Chennai Express and all of Ali’s films put together. 

A puzzling issue with the film is how Alok is made to feel like a criminal throughout the duration for rejecting Ashwini. Is it necessary to agree to marry any prospective spouse you meet? Moreover, what the guy saw initially wasn't the girl's real self. 

Bhetali Tu Punha also doesn’t fulfil the necessary demand of rom-coms of having at least one high quality song. Hence, the tracks make the proceedings more dreary, especially in the second half. 

The technical departments have done a good job, with visuals that are pleasing to the eye. Pradeep Khanvilkar’s camera work inside the small area of a train compartment is commendable. 

One of the good things in the film is the performance and chemistry between Tatwawadi and Sawant. Tatwawadi, with his fine acting skills, successfully plays a romantic hero. 

Sawant displays the right craziness (in a good way) needed for the character. Her antics in the train are super cute. This is her third release in three weeks as the female lead, after Lapachhapi and Bus Stop. The actor playing Tatwawadi’s close friend-cum-colleague provides ideal support. 

Overall, Bhetali Tu Punha has an enjoyable first half and an equally dull second.