(Published in The Sunday Guardian on 22 April 2012, retrieved from http://www.sunday-guardian.com/masala-art/turned-on-with-humour)
Cast: Aayushman Khurana, Annu Kapoor, Yami Gautam, Dolly Ahluwalia, Kamlesh Gill, Jayanta Das
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Rating: 4 stars
When I saw the trailer, my first thought was, “Whaa, we actually have a film about sperm donation?!” Do we dare hope for anotherDelhi Belly? I then wondered whether Vicky Donor = VD was some kind of subtext. Turns out former VJ Aayushman Khurana’s big screen debut is a mostly hilarious flick about, umm, good breeding, no contact.
So, you know a Delhi boy called Vicky – whose mommy’s called Dolly – has to be Punjabi, right? As we wait for Sunny and Bunty to show up, we learn Vicky wants a job that’ll give him “respect” and “class” – instead, he finds one that’ll give him offspring, but more on that later. As I was saying, he’s one of those Delhi boys who won’t get into the family business, and bum around waiting for fate to turn their life on.
Fate takes the form of Dr. Chadha (Annu Kapoor) of Chadha Fertility Clinic, who stalks him with the manic determinedness of a sperm collector. And on merit of his lineage, personality, sporting ability and so on, Vicky’s (Aayushman Khurana’s) life is pretty much about being turned on. Between Dr. Chadha’s attempts at persuading an astonished Vicky into going forth and multiplying, and Khurana’s baffled expressions (not least at the décor of Dr. Chadha’s car and office), the pre-interval half has you cracking up every couple of minutes.
But when the hero starts sauntering around CP with sari-clad Ashima (Yami Gautam), you know the story will lag at some point. Not much, though, and the credit for that should go to a screenplay that constantly tickles and amuses, crafted by Juhi Chaturvedi. The repartee between Dolly (Dolly Ahluwalia) and her mother-in-law (Kamlesh Gill) is particularly enjoyable.
Which brings us to the language – the Delhiite in me loved the dialogues. Where else would you hear phrases like “non-veg type” or “mummy swear” but from the mouths of Delhi-born folks? The minor characters are instantly likeable – Vicky’s flat-screen-TV-demanding grandmother is a quirky representative of a generation that is more besotted with fancy gadgets than their grandchildren are. Jayanta Das will have you sniggering with his portrayal of the typical Bengali bhadralok.
The downside? There are about eight superfluous songs. And the only one you’ll remember the tune of is Pani da, sung by Khurana himself (Whaa...we have a Bollywood actor who can actually sing, and he’s not Pakistani?! ) Well, that and the ubiquitous Rum Whiskey.
The Verdict: This film has many pluses – among them is that producer John Abraham spares us his facial contortions, stilted dancing, and washboard abs for all but three minutes of the film.