Bus Stop review: Don't alight here

Release Date: 21 Jul 2017 / Rated: U / 02hr 05min

Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

The film starring Pooja Sawant, Amruta Khanvilkar, Aniket Vishwasrao and Siddharth Chandekar has no storyline.

A college campus saga needs ingredients like masti, friendship, romance, heartbreak, songs, generation gap conflict, etc. But above all, any film needs a proper script. This, unfortunately, is missing in the Marathi movie Bus Stop. The film is a case of knowing the ingredients but not the recipe. By the way, the title has no relevance here.

Bus Stop has a mystery element that is present throughout the film's duration. It makes you wonder about the plot. You wait eagerly for it but the wait goes on for more than two hours. The film is just filled with too many incidents that revolve around the ensemble cast. So, we have a number of subplots without any basic plot.

Roughly, this is what can be summed up as the story. A group of college students (Aniket Vishwasrao, Pooja Sawant, Amruta Khanvilkar, Siddharth Chandekar, Rasika Sunil and Hemant Dhome) live a carefree life in a city in Maharashtra. The film traces the journey of their final year as MBA students and how they deal with various challenges in their personal lives. The film is the official remake of the Telugu movie Bus Stop: Lover’s Adda (2012).

The nature of the film and the behaviour of the characters bring back memories of Mahesh Manrjekar’s disaster FU: Friendship Unlimited, which was recently released. But the case of FU was somewhat understandable because the characters were teenagers. The scenario in Bus Stop is weirder as the characters are grown-up, mature individuals, who behave like kids. 

The problem with the film isn’t limited to this though. Here are the other issues with it: 

- Not only do the characters behave like kids, their parents, too, treat them like kids. How else do you explain fathers insisting on dropping daughters to college? And when a girl starts seeing someone, her father reacts as if she has committed a crime. Later, when her parents see her picture in a shoulder-less party gown, they announce that she has brought shame on the family. Hello! This is 2017!

- Another father is an exception. He is so modern that he makes his daughter propose to a lad in front of him because he wants to savour the moment. Seriously? But, later, when the guy tries to get close to his daughter, he flies off the handle and admonishes him. 

- Sawant and Vishwasrao’s characters are in love since junior college (though they are shown as schoolchildren in the flashback for reasons best known to the director). The young woman goes abroad for five years to complete her studies. When she returns, she refuses to even recognize the guy. After a long wait, she gives a lame reason for this.

- Khanvilkar’s character uses Chandekar’s character to get an iPhone. The guy doesn’t realize this even when she makes it obvious. After getting the phone, she doesn’t give the guy much importance. So, in a way, this is the first love triangle between a guy, a gal and a gadget in the history of cinema.

- Another mobile phone is used to add humour by dropping it in sambar and semi-liquid dough.

The content and direction hamper the performances. In last week’s release Lapachhapi, Pooja Sawant gave a superb performance. The same is not the case here. Aniket Vishwasrao is a decent actor, but he is made to overact. Amruta Khanvilkar isn’t bad but even her performance is affected by the bad characterization. The same is true of Siddharth Chandekar. 

Hemant Dhome has proved his comic timing in the past. But forced comedy usually falls flat. Rasika Sunil, Akshay Waghmare and Suyog Gorhe provide average performances. As the three fathers, Vidyadhar Joshi, Uday Tikekar and Sharad Ponkshe are unintentionally funny, all due to the characterizations.

Overall, you would be well advised to skip this Bus Stop.