Review Gujarati

Kehvatlal Parivar review: Siddharth Randeria shines in this family entertainer

Release Date: 06 May 2022 / Rated: U / 02hr 17min


Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

The producer-director duo of Rashmin Majithia and Vipul Mehta have come up with a film that is very different from their previous blockbuster hit Chaal Jeevi Laiye (2019).

The story of director Vipul Mehta’s Kehvatlal Parivar is about an ageing single father who toils to earn money and look after his family while people around him seem lost in their own world. He has other issues, too, to deal with on a daily basis.

Reading this introduction you might think this is a serious film and a tearjerker. And you would be completely wrong. Kehvatlal Parivar is a laugh-riot that has lots of appeal for its main target — the family audience — though the subject is very different from Mehta’s previous film, the wildly successful Chaal Jeevi Laiye (2019).

Although Kehvatlal Parivar is a story set in today’s times in Ahmedabad, it feels like a period film, at least for half the time, because of the old-world house and its owner Raju Thakar (Siddharth Randeria). His wife Kalindi (Supriya Pathak) died 23 years ago and he has been struggling since to keep afloat the family’s traditional business of selling dhoklas (a popular Gujarati savoury made of rice and chickpeas). His son Himesh (Bhavya Gandhi) gets him into trouble regularly. He is also unhappy with daughter Heta (Shraddha Dangar) for her lack of seriousness in life.

Rajubhai’s sister Bhadra (Vandana Pathak) is another member of the household who irritates him. She has left her in-laws and lives with her brother now, spending all her time becoming a social media influencer. As if this were not enough, Rajubhai faces stiff competition in business from his own brother Shamlu (Sanjay Goradia), who also sells dhoklas right near his stall.

Then the story takes a major twist: one day, out of the blue, Kalindi returns home hale and hearty.

Over the decades, Randeria has acquired the image of an actor who can make people laugh even in the midst of tragedy. This is true of his performances on stage as well as in cinema. Sure enough, his trademark humour is on display throughout the film's runtime of two hours 17 minutes. Having said that, he also excels at the emotional scenes. It won’t be wrong to say he carries the film on his shoulders.

When the trailer for Kehvatlal Parivar was released, it seemed as if the makers gave out much of the plot. But it turns out the promo gave a glimpse of only the first half hour of the film. There are a lot more twists and turns in the plot that will stoke your interest in what happens next. The narrative moves smoothly and naturally into heartwarming mode in the final moments.

The production design recreates an old-world Gujarati house perfectly. While the house and its interiors appear old, there is a certain earthy charm about them. Sachin-Jigar’s music is entertaining with the 'Holi' track being the best. The song also features Pratik Gandhi making a cameo appearance.

Bhavya Gandhi, who earlier played the famous character Tapu in the long-running television show Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, is in good form here too. Shraddha Dangar, best known for her hard-hitting portrayal of the lead in the brilliant Hellaro (2019), shines in a completely different avatar here.

Supriya Pathak wins the viewer over with the various shades of Kalindi. Vandana Pathak, Sanjay Goradia, Neel Gagdani and Dharmesh Vyas provide able and timely support.

Through all the entertainment and the performances, one issue sticks out. Any family would have been shocked out of its wits to find a member who had been thought to be dead for more than two decades reappearing hale and hearty out of the blue. For sure they would have all wanted to know where and how she had been all these years, why she had stayed away for so long, and why she has now reappeared. However, the parivar in the film moves on as if this were a casual everyday occurrence.

The flaw, thankfully, is covered up to a large extent by the fast pace of the screenplay, the continuous dollops of humour and, more importantly, a convincing climax.

Kehvatlal Parivar was released in theatres on 6 May 2022.

 

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