(Published in The Sunday Guardian, 22 July 2012, retrieved from http://www.sunday-guardian.com/masala-art/dafa-ho-driver)
Cast: Vickrant Mahajan, Kainaz Motiwala, Prem Chopra, Manoj Pahwa
Director: Vickrant Mahajan
Rating: Half star
The filmmakers likely chose to release Challo Driver on the same day as The Dark Knight Rises in the hope that some of the crowd that failed to get tickets to the Batman movie will lumber over to the crappy movie playing in the next screen. Chances are that they will never come out. Yes, it’s that awful.
If you want to make a low-budget film and don’t care how it does, you might as well do all the work yourself. And that’s the only point Vickrant Mahajan, writer, director, lyricist and lead actor, scores. That, and convincing Kainaz Motiwala, who’d managed to make something of an impression in Raagini MMS, to work with him, and prove to the world that she can’t act either.
Challo Driver is the love story of an idiot who takes up her friend on a dare to apply for the job of driver, and another idiot, who takes up his driver on a dare that makes for the skimpy plot of this flabby film.
This is the six-point philosophy the film seeks to foster:
- Driving is “different” and “daring” and “unassuming”
- The best way to cure a chauvinist is to fall in love with him
- The best way to drive is to wear a cleavage-popping tight shirt and a grumpy expression
- Women drivers get salaries of Rs. 50,000 + perks, as long as they look like they want to star in item numbers
- When in doubt, wear garish eye makeup
- Music and air-conditioning are essential to a driver’s dignity
I knew cleaning cobwebs at home would have been more intellectually stimulating than watching the film when the lead actress makes this point: “If men can be makeup artists, why can’t women be drivers?” That’s when the feminists in the hall died.
As if to rouse them, the film harps on the dubious fact that women are involved in 37% fewer accidents than men. And then, to kill the audience again, it uses this line: “Mujh mein bhi feelings hain. Special feelings.” Let the forgettable songs begin.
The only tolerable thing about the movie is Manoj Pahwa, and he’s entertaining mainly if his Punjabi-isms remind you of someone you know.
The Verdict: The movie served to convince me that Saudi Arabia has the right idea about women drivers. And as I walked out of the theatre, I wished I lived there – this film would likely be banned for its immoral premise.