By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service
Film: "Darwaza Band Rakho"; Cast: Aftab Shivdasani, Chunky Pandey,
Manisha Koirala, Isha Sharvani, Snehal Dabhi, Divya Dutta, Ishrat Ali
and Smita Jayakar; Director: Chekravarthy; Rating: *1/2
With a cast that reads like the who's hoot of Bollywood, this has
got to be the noisiest and most ambitious comedy of the season, if not
of all seasons.
The chaos of errors starts with four desperados - Aftab Shivdasani,
Zakir Husain, Snehal Dabhi and Chunky Pandey - barging into a house
colonised by a Gujarati family which seems to exist on the
From there, the claustrophobic mood builds up with rapid-fire
momentum, leaving no room for the characters and their relationships to
grow. The narrative suffocates the characters and their motives,
narrows them down to a burlesque of bankruptcy. Nonetheless, for about
half of the film director Chekravarthy keeps the goings-on moderately
After a while the house chosen for the anarchic comedy of anxieties,
creaks and groans under the weight of characters who know why they are
there, but are clueless about why they need to be put in the bizarre
situation they have inherited from a scriptwriter who probably likes
crowds much more than the average member if the audience.
This has got to be the most crowded canvas since the screen
adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. Everyone seems to treat grim
issues of crime, kidnapping, extortion and perjury as a kind of
extended gag.Indeed "Darwaza Bandh Rakho" is like a soap opera devoted to a
malfunctional family where fiscal matters rule the conscience and speed
is a substitute for sensitivity.
Writer-director Chekravarthy comes up with some funny moments in the
first half. Sadly despite the stretched-out cast he's unable to sustain
the narration beyond the first forty-five minutes. The second leg of
the black comedy limps sags and finally heaves to a halt, leaving the
proceedings as bereft as a balloon without helium.
What exceeds the rather ludicrous limits set by the chaotic canvas
of this heist-hilarity are some of the performances. Though over-the-
top, Ishrat Ali as the Gujarati householder grappling with an
unexpected houseful situation in his house, comes up with an arresting
Others who get it right in a film that makes a strong pitch for the
wrong, are Zakir Husain, Divya Dutta (cute and exceedingly hyper as the
house-maid) and to an extent Chunky Pandey. Isha Sharvani so graceful
in Subhash Ghai's Kisna, is embarrassing here. And what's Manisha
Koirala doing in the extended ensemble cast looking as lost as Alice in
The rest of the vast cast is strictly functional. An interesting
blues-and-jazz lined background score by Amar Mohile and a marked
tendency to trivialise serious issues that should never be allowed to
be held for satire in a society that's infested with grave maladies, go
hand-in-hand in this raucous comedy.
Yes, it's different from the other comedies. But do we really need a
comedy that derives its humour from an indeterminate blank account?
Bollywood.com Rating: 2