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Sunday, July 22, 2012

(Published in City Express, The New Indian Express, on 21 July 2012, retrieved from

Cast: Vickrant Mahajan, Kainaz Motiwala, Prem Chopra, Manoj Pahwa
Director: Vickrant Mahajan
Rating: 1 star
Remember those MGR movies that set out to strike a chord with the common man? You know, where he’d be the driver or gardener or fish-supplier or janitor for a rich family, and take the snobbish, spoilt daughter down a few pegs? And then she’s start clutching her bedclothes, as she fantasises about being ravished by him? And then, she’d find out her Daddy – usually her only surviving parent – was a fraud, and dump him for the driver-gardener-fisherman-janitor type, and move into his stinky hut, where she’d choke over coal-stoves, learn to wear a saree, get her hair oiled by his Mummy – usually his only surviving parent – and teach us all what qualities a good wife should have? Challo Driver takes its cue from those.
But, in the four decades or so since rich-chick-turns-sati-savitri happened, there’s this troublesome thing called Feminism that has to be factored into popular culture. So, here, this hot chick becomes driver. Because women can do anything. And well-qualified women can become drivers. And well-qualified, hot women can be paid Rs. 50,000 and perks if they can handle an Audi and its owner. And well-qualified, hot women drivers whose employers own an Audi can marry them.
No wonder Vickrant Mahajan couldn’t find anyone to star in this gross waste of everyone’s afternoon but the one film old Kainaz Motiwala – and himself. No wonder he couldn’t find anyone to direct it, or write lyrics for it either – but himself. That brings me to the songs – a bunch of Punjabi numbers that sound like everything we’ve heard in low-budget movies over the last five years.
As if the horrendous love-story of Arjun and Tanya is not enough, we must contend with their misadventures with each other’s families. The only good thing about the film is the Audi that stars in it. The only good thing about my movie experience is that I could forget most of it watching The Dark Knight Rises right after.
The Verdict: If you do waste an afternoon on this film, do take comfort in the fact that it’s likely to leave its makers too broke to inflict anything else on the world.


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