Review Hindi

FryDay review: Govinda, Varun Sharma offer a few laughs and some food for thought

Release Date: 12 Oct 2018 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 03min


Cinestaan Rating

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Mayur Lookhar

Director Abhishek Dogra has a weak screenplay, but the relatability of his characters helps to strike a chord with the audience.

Abhishek Dogra's FryDay has a handful of desperate souls, each driven by individual need or greed.

There is Rajiv Chhabra (Varun Sharma), an innocent, righteous salesman who only has time till Friday to save his job and win back girlfriend-cum-colleague Sonam (Ashmita Kaur Bakshi).

Rajiv hasn't been able to sell a single Pavitra Pani water purifier in months, and his life and career depend upon the upcoming Friday. The man is about to lose his bearings but is advised by an anonymous customer at the local Chinese foodstall to consult a motivator named Manchanda (Sanjai Mishra), who asks him to knock on the doors of a couple, Gagan (Govinda) and Bela Kapoor (Prabhleen Sandhu).

Mrs Kapoor is to travel to Shimla, but moved by Rajiv's plight, she agrees to help him and asks him to come to her house on Friday and install the water purifier in the presence of her husband.

Unaware of the salesman's appointment, Gagan sees the Friday as the perfect opportunity to get intimate with his young girlfriend Bindu (Digangana Suryavanshi). Unfortunately for Gagan, Rajiv isn’t the only unwelcome visitor that fateful Friday.

Dogra made his directorial debut with the con drama Dolly Ki Doli (2015). The film was much liked for its entertaining story, simple writing, and humour. FryDay is a story cooked by [writer] Rajeev Kaul, with actor-writer Manurishi Chadha penning the dialogues, and helping Kaul with the screenplay.

The story is appetizing, but Kaul and Chadha churn up a weak, half-fried screenplay that spoils the fun. Chadha’s frailty as a dialogue writer was earlier exposed in Faraz Haider’s Nanu Ki Jaanu (2018), but FryDay is a satisfactory effort.

Here’s a plot that rides more on the verbal volleys between Gagan and Rajiv/Bindu. Chadha, however, goes overboard with Gagan and Rajiv’s rhyming which sound more like disorderly conversations. This style of communication was cleverly used by David Dhawan in Deewana Mastana (1997). Remember Pappu Pager?

When Gagan is interacting with the women, he resorts to flattery. Not in a good way though. For example, Gagan tries to persuade his uninterested wife for sex, saying, “Once in a week is a must.” When she refuses, he cries, ”What about Gagan’s lust?"

The alacrity with which people keep coming to Gagan’s house in the first half of the film makes the act look staged. The maid puts up a poor act, while Dogra could have done away with the awestruck courier altogether.

Barring a few fun moments, the first half is largely dull. Before the interval, we see Bela use the key and walk into the house. After the interval, she is seen walking through the lawn of the bungalow and using the key to step inside the house. Was that an error made on the editing table? Editor Manan Ajay Sagar may be best placed to explain that.

The finest sequence of the film comes in the second half when inspector Ranpal (Rajendra Sharma) comes knocking on Gagan's door. The good inspector is actually the husband of Bindu, Gagan's girlfriend. Ranpal and Gagan share a hilarious conversation that comes across naturally.

Govinda, Varun Sharma, Digangana Suryavanshi in FryDay

There is an air of inevitability to FryDay. What holds the film though is the sincere performances by its cast.

Varun Sharma is blessed with an innocent face. He is the cute, rotund man who entertains easily. Newcomer Digangana Suryavanshi has fine screen presence, too. However, lack of experience reflects in her act. It is the men in the film who do most of the talking, and given the situation at hand, Bindu largely wears a hassled look on her face.

After the debacle of Aagaya Hero (2017), Govinda redeems himself with FryDay. Though it would be difficult for him to be Hero No 1 again, he proves that he still hasn't lost his comic timing. Prabhleen Sandhu showed her prowess in Hansal Mehta’s Shahid (2013), playing Shahid Azmi’s wife Mariam. Bela is not a substantial role, but Sandhu puts up a competent act.

More than the respectable performances, each of the characters strikes a chord with the audience. There is none more relatable than Rajiv Chhabra. Like many, he is demotivated and his honesty is threatening to spell finis for his career. He is bullied by his boss and duped by his colleague Sameer while his materialistic but practical girlfriend Sonam gently lays out the truth to him, saying, “Life doesn’t drive on just love."

Though Sanjai Mishra has a guest appearance, he plays a pivotal role in the film. Manchanda lays out the ugly truth of life — talent and good intentions are not enough to be successful in life. He teaches Rajiv the virtues of diplomacy and controlled sycophancy. Above all, Manchanda tells us that no matter how grave a situation, always wear a smile on your face.

A 54-year-old man (Govinda) romancing a 20-year-old woman (Suryavanshi) is not a common sight, but Gagan and Bindu each have their reasons to look for love outside marriage. Bindu was married off at a young age to the elderly cop Ranpal. Quite fittingly, Gagan reminds Bindu that he, too, is an elderly man. Moral codes of conduct might not approve of this relationship, but the director doesn’t judge Gagan and Bindu. The theatre actor that he is, Gagan has the gift of the gab. His T-shirt reads ‘not perfect but loyal’. You take that with a pinch of salt.

No one is perfect and Dogra’s characters reflect the imperfections in us. If only Rajeev Kaul and Manurishi Chadha could have produced a more engrossing screenplay and better dialogues, this could have turned into a memorable FryDay. Nevertheless, if you have time to spare, FryDay is worth a watch.

 

 

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