Band, baaja, baaraat, a desi booty-shaking Shakira, a reckless boy who refuses to grow up, a penny-pinching dad, and a missing Maruti – these are, broadly speaking, the pieces that make up this rib-tickling jigsaw.
Produced by Y Films, YRF’s alternative production label, Mere Dad Ki Maruti, has all the essential ingredients of a Bollywood wedding flick, but it serves them up in a somewhat watered-down form. The dilution serves the film well.
This isn’t a laugh-out-loud comic romp. But some of the gags the film rustles up are genuinely funny and bear the stamp of a degree of cleverness that one rarely encounters in an average Mumbai comedy.
As much an advertisement for the Maruti Ertiga as a picture-postcard introduction to a window-dressed Chandigarh, the film whips up a nice bubbly froth. It might seem a bit insubstantial in the end, but it is generally agreeable.
Even if there are a few passages in the film that tend to be just a little stretched, they do not leave any ungainly dent on the surface.
With a run time of well under two hours, Mere Dad Ki Maruti is a film that is never danger of overstaying its welcome.
The big fat Punjabi wedding here is neither obscenely big nor overly fat. Mere Dad Ki Maruti, lean if not mean, is a smooth ride that travels light, carries no excess baggage and never runs on empty.
It breezes past without any major breakdowns primarily because it doesn’t get too adventurous and sticks to its chosen lane.
And to top it all, it delivers some quirky detours that are made all the more engaging due to the consistent quality of the acting.
Ram Kapoor, television superstar who is only infrequently seen on the big screen, finally gets an entire movie to himself and he makes the most of it. He is the very soul of Mere Dad Ki Maruti. He fills the screen with his presence, and not merely in a physical sense.
Kapoor pulls off a splendid balancing act between the demands of playing a loud-mouthed, demonstrative father at odds with a rebellious son and the innate skills of an actor acutely conscious of the need for restraint.
The comic rigmarole is triggered when Sameer Khullar (Saqib Saleem) decides to go on a spin in a spanking new red Ertiga that his dad, Tej Khullar (Ram Kapoor), has bought as a wedding gift for his about-to-be-married daughter.
The poor boy, who has to get around the city in a rickshaw, wants to make an impression on the flighty Jasleen (Rhea Chakraborty), but his daring plan lands him in the deep end of a messy pit.
From the very outset, the girl spells trouble. Her name, she insists, is ‘Jazzleen’, and Sameer never gets it right.
The first time we see her on the screen, a song in the background tells us that she is "Chandigarh ki hot Shakira".
When the smitten Sameer praises the leggy lass, she retorts: "My hips might but my lips don’t lie!"
And when he calls her the next day and reminds her of the previous day’s meeting and the promise to meet again, she wants to know "kaun Sameer – Puri, Khanna ya Randhawa?"
The guy is too besotted with the damsel to get the hint. He sneaks out with the car and the girl. By the time the party ends, he loses the former and leaves the latter at the end of her tether.
Sameer now stares at the prospect of a merciless mauling at home. His sister’s wedding is only three days away and he has little time to find a way out of the trouble that he has landed himself and his friend, Gattu (Prabal Panjabi), in.
First-time director and co-screenwriter Ashima Chibber keeps a tight rein on the proceedings all the way up to a tidily executed climax.
The dialogues penned by Ishita Moitra convey just the right mix of the smart and the madcap.
The performances by the young cast are competent. Saqib Saleem, in his second big screen outing, hits all the right notes.
The role of the coquette fits debutante Rhea Chakraborty to a T. As the feckless Gattu, Prabal Panjabi is impressive.
Mere Dad Ki Maruti is a winner, an easy film to like. Go right ahead.