Y Films’ Mere Dad Ki Maruti( MDKM) was the first film I saw today out of three Hindi releases this weekend. Though it became the first choice more out of chance than out of expectations, I was still pretty kicked about it thanks to the cheeky escalations of promos over last couple of weeks. To make an out and out Punjabi film today is an incredibly tall order, considering that all that needs to be seen of the Punjabi heartiness and zaniness has been done and dusted many times over. First time director, Ashima Chibber, takes on this herculean task and does more than a middling effort with this one.
Mere Dad Ki Maruti boasts of a fresh premise and is quick to set it up without much meandering. But has nothing much to dwell on besides that one plot point which is already shown in the trailer. Yet, MDKM works due to the overdose of the fluff and frills that come from a series of misadventures and a brilliant chemistry between its two lead male characters. Eschewing the hokey contrived situations and characters that become a part and parcel of every Punjabi movie, the film instead heaps humorously on the hypocrisy of it all. The Punjabi dad cant stand the sight of his loser son, but makes no bones about saving a couple of grands in decorating a car or serving fake liquor to guests in his party. The Punjabi mom will always protect her kids, notwithstanding that her daughter could be performing an innuendo-laden raunchy item number on stage at her own wedding. The hot siren of Chandigarh, Jasleen (who persuasively asks everyone to call her Jazzlin) will talk with an accent even when she hasn’t traveled beyond Delhi. Canada will be the second home for Punjabis, always, with random dudes flashing Canadian passports in a song. And of course, a Punjabi wedding cannot be complete without a lot of alcohol, tawdriness and the much important the big wedding gift for the daughter – a Maruti Ertiga.
Screenplay by Ashima Chibber, Pooja Desai, Ishita Moitra and Neeraj Udhwani takes a lot of Punjabi schlock and turn it around in a delightful film that never bores you in its 100 minute runtime and is sporadically hilarious. It is the derivations of Chandigarh’s culture such as the weddings in big farms, the gedi concept, the slight-ful father, the desperate teenager son, the pretentious girlfriend and much more that makes MDKM a fun ride. Y Films provides the much needed backing for this small film by packaging it like a much larger film. But it is Sachin Gupta’s crackling music that is monumentally crucial behind the success of this film. With his hardcore Punjabi numbers, Gupta sets up the tone of the film suitably well.
Saqib Saleem performs dynamically well in his second lead performance after Mujhse Fraandship Karoge in 2011 and shows much promise for future. From his ludicrous spoken English to his cheesy romanticism, he brings out Sameer with remarkable ease on screen. And he is delightfully aided by Prabal Punjabi who plays a faithful friend to Sameer, right through all the rigmarole. Their hilarious chemistry keeps you glued and provides much light moments. Ram Kapoor does not get ample scope to display his histrionics as the dad’s character does get jarringly repetitive as the kids are busy looking for the missing car. Rhea Chakraborty looks surprisingly cute but has little to do in the film. Ravi Kissen plays the textbook version of a local don who sells stolen cars.
All in all, Mere Dad Ki Maruti is a light goofy film that is supremely rich in flavor and frolic, often making a small satire on Punjabis themselves by smart play of lingo and a girl who keeps saying ‘Excuse me’. Much to smirk at and much more promise for the future is what Ashima Chibber leaves us with. Go ahead, have some harmless fun!
Rating – 3/5