MTV Asia has kicked off its hunt for 2014's MTV World Stage Insider.
Too many cooks spoil the broth, they say. That's basically the case with Rakesh Mehta's 'Life Ki Toh Lag Gayi', which burns its fingers trying to tell a few too many stories, and basically trying to be a smarter film than it really is.
Mehta's film, for which he's also penned the story and screenplay, tries its best to relate the story of four different characters, and what they go through on one particular day when their tracks collide, albeit just in the passing.
There's Salman, played by Kay Kay Menon, whose father, the 'bhai' of Mumbai, and mother, have just been murdered in cold blood, leaving him thirsting for revenge from rivals. Amol, on the other hand, played by Ranvir Shorey, has just returned from a grueling run as a chef in London, only to discover that his girlfriend, who he has been slogging for, has left him for another man. Amol finds solace in his friend Ghosh, Pradhuman Singh, a death-obsessed junkie who impresses the idea of suicide upon him. Meanwhile, Neha Bhasin, as Dolly Saluja, has come to Mumbai from Chandigarh with dreams of becoming a movie star, only to find that she has no chance here and no money to make it out of here either, leaving her to con her way out. And finally, there's ACP Rajbir, a spirited Haryanvi cop in Mumbai's crime branch, played by Manu Rishi, trying his best to find an elusive consignment of cocaine brought in by Nigerian peddlers, only to repeatedly earn flack from the commissioner, his only support being his mother, who he runs back to repeatedly on the telephone.
The film is a gigantic effort on Mehta's part to tie all these stories together. That he doesn't manage to do so convincingly is obvious because there simply isn't any common ground here for him to find. The incohesive, nay, incoherent plot falls apart the moment the film starts trying to relate the stories simultaneously. With few moments that can hold one's interest, and sparse humour for those laugh out loud moments, the film becomes even more difficult to sit through. The biggest failing here is for the film's talented editor, Namrata Rao here, who, in a moment of weakness, loses the plot quite literally, peppering the film with rough cuts and jumps.
On the acting front, Manu Rishi holds fort as ACP Rajbir, and is clearly the star of the film, offering the film's funniest moments. The talented actor is perfectly cast in an otherwise imperfect film. Marathi actor Kishore Kadam deserves special praise for playing Rajbir's comic foil and cop friend, Bhonsle. Kay Kay Menon does a fair job as Salman, though his edgy, serious role never fits in with the humourous tone the film is supposed to be holding. Neha Bhasin as Dolly hardly makes an impression, while Ranvir is completely wasted. Pradhuman Singh had a good start in 'Tere Bin Laden', but has followed it up with a series of hamming roles, which is also the case here. Jackie Shroff, Asrani, Sharat Saxena and Tom Alter have short cameos which add little to the film's appeal.
The film's music and background score, by Vinay Jaiswal, fails to make the mark, and frequently cut into the narrative.
Overall, though the film has a fair premise and a couple of good performances, director Rakesh Mehta muddles up the affair with his rough execution. Perhaps he'd have had better luck telling just two stories instead of four. In any case, the final result is that as it stands now, 'Life Ki Toh Lag Gayi' is a film that's quite hard to sit through, if not for the likes of Kay Kay Menon, and most importantly, Manu Rishi.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars