Direction: Mrighdeep Singh Lamba
Actors: Pulkit Samrat, Varun Sharma, Ali Fazal, Manjot Singh, Richa Chadda, Pankaj Tripathi
Fukrey is a genial romp about four lower middle-class boys in Delhi who embark upon a harebrained scheme to raise money but eventually find out that there are no short cuts in life.
Hunny and Choocha, played by Pulkit Samrat and debutant Varun Sharma are buddies whose only aspiration is to get into the coolest college in town. Zafar, played by Ali Fazal, is a struggling musician and Lali, played by Manjot Singh, is the hapless son of a halwai who watches his girl, who already attends the cool college, get enamored by big cars and slick guys.
Lali, Hunny and Choocha desperately want to get into the college (Hunny and Choocha fantasize about riding in on horses) but none have the grades. The leaked exam papers cost Rs. 50,000 each.
And so begins a journey that takes them to the wily college watchman Punditji, played by the terrific Pankaj Tripathi and Bholi Punjaban played by Richa Chadda, the local mistress of vices.
Director Mrighdeep Singh Lamba gives us a theatre of the absurd set in East Delhi. The characters and actors are a perfect match. Pulkit embodies the over-confident charmer and Manjot looks comically sweet and bewildered all the time. But my favourite was Varun as the foolish and always-in-heat Choocha whose dreams kick-start the entire mess — he manages to be both, idiotic and endearing. Ram Sampath’s boisterous score add to the rough and tumble feel of the film.
But the problem with Fukrey is that the characters and milieu are more engaging than the plot, which gets more far-fetched as it thickens. By the time we get to a rave party and drugs, the outrageousness of the story becomes exhausting.
By the climax, the writing becomes slack. Anything is possible, including a financial windfall from a character who seems tacked on to save the day. But there is enough pep in Fukrey to make it pleasantly diverting. I’m not suggesting that you drop everything and get to the theatre. But if you happen to stroll in, you are likely to come out smiling.