Mumbai, 20 Apr 2018 16:18 IST
Updated: 21 Apr 2018 23:32 IST
The film, starring newcomer Neha Khan, is hurt by poor development of its characters and confusion about its genre.
The promos of director Viju Mane’s Marathi movie Shikari made heads turn because of the bold scenes featuring debutant Neha Khan. It also gave one the idea that the film is on the lines of the Shekhar Suman- and Padmini Kolhapure-starrer Anubhav (1986).
After watching the film, it is certain that the basic plot is a lot similar to the 1986 film. But what hurts the film more is that its effort to provide ‘adult’ entertainment falls flat.
Shikari is the story of Raghu (Suvrat Joshi), who hails from a village not far from Mumbai. He works as an assistant in the film industry. But his family and village folk believe he is a big shot in Bollywood, as mainstream Hindi cinema is often called. Hence, he is presented as the ideal match for Phulwa (Mrunmayee Deshpande) and they get married.
Much to Raghu’s shock and disappointment, he realizes that his wife has absolutely no interest in or knowledge of sex. At the same time, he comes across the gorgeous Savita (Neha Khan) and is mesmerized by her beauty. She is married to a theatre director (Prasad Oak) with whom she had started her acting career. She once dreamt of becoming a film star, but she could not join the movies. Raghu starts getting close to her on the pretext of getting her a role in films.
Coming to the few things that work for the film, the screenplay is fast paced and the film's length is under two hours. There are a few laugh-worthy moments here and there.
These points, obviously, get overshadowed by the large number of negatives. First, the film's genre is not clear. It’s a regressive ‘adult’ comedy in the first half, but becomes a serious tale of the casting couch after the interval. More importantly, it doesn’t make any sense and ends abruptly without creating any impact.
We are living in an era where respect for women is the watchword. So, to see massive objectification being used in the name of ‘adult’ entertainment just does not work. Worse, even the character of Phulwa’s mother (Kashmira Shah) indulges in a skin show. It can't get much more gross than that.
The character of Savita is also a major problem. Just because she is eager to become an actress, she is shown moving around the village in minimal clothes. Even her husband seems to be okay with that. More importantly, she doesn’t realize how Raghu is just making excuses to touch her inappropriately in various ways.
Later on she stops him when she is in a drunken state, when she is supposed to be out of her senses. However, even after knowing how the man tricked her into drinking and forced her to have sex with him, she does not hold a grudge against him. At least this reviewer found it hard to sympathize with such a character.
It is necessary for such 'entertainers' to have a few impressive songs. ‘Kheladu Pahije Nava’ is the only entertaining song here. ‘Bhor Bhaye’ is a soothing number, but it’s a rehash of the classic Lata Mangeshkar number from Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978).
The performances are decent. Neha Khan does possess some acting talent, but unfortunately in this film only her flesh is on display for the most part. Her poor characterization works against her. Debutant Suvrat Joshi, who is a known television actor, manages his part well. Let’s hope he chooses better films in future.
Mrunmayee Deshpande has better luck and shows her talent once again. Prasad Oak is the best of the lot. He makes his presence felt despite his character having little screen time. One-time siren Kashmira Shah is also stymied by her characterization. Bhau Kadam shows good comic timing, but his character lacks depth. Same is the case with Vaibhav Mangle and Siddharth Jadhav.
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