Mumbai, 01 Jun 2017 13:44 IST
Mahesh Manjrekar's 'musical' is full of subplots and cliches that have become outdated even in typical Bollywood college dramas.
Over the past year, Marathi cinema, seen not so long ago as a bright spot, has been churning out duds continuously. This year, especially, has seen many such films. A few examples are Maanus Ek Maati, Nagarsevak Ek Nayak, Garbh, Premaya Namah, Ranjan, and Saha Gun.
Now, who would have thought that a film directed by Mahesh Manjrekar would find a place in this list? In fact, if it hadn't been for the technical areas, Friendship Unlimited would have been comparable with Govinda’s Aa Gaya Hero, the biggest disaster so far in Hindi cinema this year.
To jot down the synopsis of this film is as difficult as stopping KRK (self-proclaimed film critic Kamaal R Khan) from speaking rubbish. We will still make an attempt.
Sahil (Akash Thosar) studies in a junior college. He is the leader of a group consisting of three carefree friends and the odd man out, Gautam aka Gautya (Satya Manjrekar), a geek.
Sahil falls for the newly admitted Revati (Vaidehi Parshurami). She, too, develops feelings for him. But the two lack the courage to express their love to each other. Meanwhile, Gautam has a crush on a professor (Isha Koppikar). He is heartbroken on learning that she is in a relationship with the college’s boxing coach (Chetan Hansraj). What lies in store for the group of friends?
Friendship Unlimited has too many problems. Here are some of them:
– As mentioned before, there is just no story. The characters get involved in numerous brief incidents and confrontations, which come and go. So, there are too many subplots, but no basic plot.
– Although the screenplay moves fast, it is full of events that make you go ‘what the hell’? The narrative has all the clichés that have become outdated even in typical Bollywood college dramas.
– The conversation throughout the 130-odd minutes is full of one-liners and punch lines. They try way too hard to be cool, and end up being cringeworthy.
– A film can be a musical if it has songs that aid the storytelling. But here songs are included just for fun so the film can be promoted as a musical. There are as many as 10 songs (excluding the one appearing with the end credits), with five of them popping up in the first 35 minutes!
– There are a number of weird incidents. The best (read worst) is a sequence where the youngsters smash furniture belonging to a professor in a way that would put political goons to shame. That’s not all; the incident is glorified.
– Obviously, it is difficult to believe even for a moment that the film is directed by Manjrekar. The biggest example is a scene where the youths are having tea. The mugs are empty and the scene is shot from the top so we can actually see the cups are empty. However, seconds later, when they lift the cups to raise a toast, tea spills out of them!
Among the performances, Vaidehi Parshurami is the only one who shines. With her looks and acting, she could have a bright future. But you don’t easily notice her good qualities since her character is shown to be naive. Akash Thosar lacks the punch that he delivered in his debut flick, Sairat (2016). This is because he is miscast in the role of a cool urban chap. You can’t help but laugh when he speaks in English.
It is difficult to judge Satya Manjrekar’s performance since his voice seems to have been dubbed and almost half his face is mostly covered by his hair. Sanskruti Balgude hardly gets any lines. The same is the case with Koppikar. We wonder why she shakes a leg with students during song sequences. Fine actors like Sachin Khedekar, Boman Irani, Bharti Acharekar and Anand Ingle are wasted.
Overall, Friendship Unlimited is not a film in any sense. There are unlimited reasons to avoid this one.
Reviewed by Keyur Seta