Mayank Shekhar's review: Sadda Adda


By Hindustan Times

Sadda Adda
Director: Muazzam Beg
Actors: Karan Sharma, Bhaumik Sampat
Rating: **

The setting is a café in Delhi. The girl, a reasonably hot one, eyes the boy sitting at a table across. There are two boys on that table in fact. The wrong one collects the signal, goes after her as she leaves. He realises it’s his buddy she was giving “line” to. She tells him so. That other fellow then runs after her BMW. She stops, sort of exults, “I’ll patao him,” and does. He drinks with his buddies at night, “Bandi phas gayi (I netted the girl)!”

Here’s what you should think, obviously depending on your gender: A) You’ve been hanging out at the wrong coffee shops. B) Delhi boys will get yet more absurd ideas of eyeing-chasing-molesting women from a scene like this. Either way, the rest of the film reveals much about the average young Indian male mind, that is, if you care to probe deeper. So don’t give up yet.

A close local approximation of an American show like Friends, for instance, is likely to be an all-male party that breaks, one by one, as each buddy disappears into a hole as he finds himself a girlfriend, or gets married right away. That's the role women usually play in segregated societies. She breaks your heart, or becomes your housewife (or a wife, at any rate). That’s pretty much the story of the band of boys who share an apartment here, before they break into the real world.

All the guys roughly come from similar, lower middle-class religious homes, and share similar ambitions and outlook towards life. Except one, a studious, hardworking boy who comes from a state (Bihar), where competing at the impossibly risky and tough civil services examination remains still a collective obsession. Another fellow wants to make it in films, which may be harder to do if you’re still stuck in Delhi. But then he’s found himself a talking part in an Angelina Jolie, Will Smith starrer, “40 per cent shot in India”. So it’s not that bad after all.

The others would be happy to get into the corporate grind, drive a fancy car, and go wherever both take them. The premise will resonate with a whole lot of kids, right after college, who find themselves in similar crossroads. Which is good to know, given we live in times when David Dhawan is expected to remake Chashme Buddoor!

The buddies tend to get into fights but they usually look out for each other as they always do. The characters appear believable. Their luck with girls or their professional goals seem equally real. Pyar Ka Punchnama was a similar film, much admired last year. The success of that picture proved every movie needn’t connect with audiences through theatres alone. That one found fame and cult status on torrent, YouTube, mainly because of its lead character Liquid, and a long, lamenting monologue on what women want. A more forgiving TV is usually where good writing truly shines.

The debutant director of this rather patchy, amateurishly filmed, poorly dubbed, artlessly designed picture is a writer as well. It shows. His last work was the awesomely executed Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar. A better filmmaker could’ve tweaked this subject into a finer movie still. This is a great script to read. Which doesn't always make it the best film to watch. Sadly. But you do know where it belongs, so look it up there.