Mumbai, 31 Jan 2020 7:30 IST
But Priyadarshan Jadhav's Choricha Mamla relies too much on the acting talent of its ensemble cast; the artistes are unable to save the film whose plot is littered with glaring holes.
There was a time in Marathi cinema when you could cast two or three artistes known for their comic timing, stuff the script with one-liners and voila! you had a good comedy film. Not anymore, though actor-director Priyadarshan Jadhav has tried to revive the formula with his multi-starrer Choricha Mamla.
Choricha Mamla is your quintessential brainless comedy. The film has a play-like setting where four characters are trapped in a house because of circumstances and are hiding something from one another.
Nandan (Jitendra Joshi), an honest thief, gets trapped in a house he is supposed to rob. Why do we call him an honest thief? You will get the answer when you watch the film.
Householder Amarjeet Patil (Hemant Dhome), a politician, has brought aspiring singer Shraddha (Amruta Khanvilkar) home for 'company'. Amarjeet's wife already suspects her husband of having an affair.
In the first 20 minutes itself, all logic goes out of the window. When Nandan gets trapped in the house, he gets a lot of opportunities to escape, but for some silly reasons, he chooses to stay on. Nandan also has some peculiar habits which are used smartly to create laughter, but you can't help thinking the director has overdone this particular trope.
Nandan's wife Aasha (Kirti Pendharkar) is a devoted wife. She calls her husband when he gets late, but instead of calling on his cell phone she chooses to call on the landline of the house Nandan had set out to rob. This is another subplot that is actually hilarious but loses its charm once the director overuses it.
As the setting of the film is very much like a play, even the acting by all the artistes is theatrical. The film demanded a lot of physical comedy and none of the artistes except Jitendra Joshi has been able to pull this off. Amruta Khanvilkar especially is completely miscast in a role that demanded great comic timing as well as physical comedy. Some of the scenes where she tries to perform comedy make you cringe.
The banter between Jitendra Joshi and Hemant Dhome is a highlight of the film. Whenever you feel the film is losing its grip, their chemistry hooks you right back. Joshi is simply superb in the film. He makes you laugh with his constant stream of one-liners. Some of the jokes land well, some don't, but Joshi tries his best to land as many as he can.
Despite all the flaws, one has to admit that Choricha Mamla is also downright hilarious, especially in the first half. Some of the scenes literally make you fall out of your chair laughing. The credit for this goes to the dialogue writers, Priyadarshan Jadhav and Harish Kaspate.
But the film loses steam in the second half. Two songs, composed by Chinar Mahesh, just hamper its pace. Jokes become repetitive and unnecessary subplots drag the narrative for too long. Had this film been 20 minutes shorter with just a bit of logic, it would have been really funny.
There is not much scope in the film for other technical aspects like cinematography and production design as most of the film takes place inside one house, but they serve their purpose. The direction by Priyadarshan Jadhav is average at best.
Overall, if you have nothing better to do this weekend and want to watch something that doesn't require you to think, then Choricha Mamla would be a good choice.
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