After having watched NO SMOKING, the first thing you want to do is ask Anurag Kashyap, the director of this misadventure: Now what was that? Cinema is all about three Es -- enlighten, educate and entertain. But NO SMOKING neither educates, nor enlightens. As for entertainment, forget it!
You try so hard to understand what NO SMOKING tries to say, but the film is like one big puzzle that refuses to get solved. What ails NO SMOKING, did you ask. Simple, it’s the most complicated cinematic experience of 2007. Agreed, the director’s intentions are noble. Cigarette smoking is injurious to health and Kashyap wants to highlight this message loud and clear via his new movie. But what has Kashyap come up with?
NO SMOKING leaves you exasperated and disgusted. Exasperated, because till the end credits roll, you just don’t know what happened in those 2 hours. Disgusted, because Kashyap had solid backers [Eros, Kumar Mangat, Vishal Bhardwaj] and a competent cast [John, Ayesha, Paresh Rawal] at his disposal. Yet, he couldn’t pull it off.
In short, NO SMOKING is a terrible waste of a terrific opportunity!
K [John Abraham] is a stubborn and obnoxious guy, who does exactly what he wants. A chain smoker, he feels nothing can come between him and his cigarette -- not his wife [Ayesha Takia], his friend [Ranvir Shorey] or his life. Till he encounters Baba Bengali [Paresh Rawal].
Baba Bengali has his own set of draconian laws to stop people from smoking. He guarantees results, provided his clients obey his orders to the T. But K revolts and pays a heavy price for it.
The only aspect that stands out in NO SMOKING is its cinematography [Rajeev Ravi]. It’s a good-looking film with some stylishly executed scenes. But Kashyap, who is an accomplished writer himself, ought to know by now that moviegoers want to watch a good story at the end of the day. The lighting, the sepia effect, the visual effects, the production design… everything is secondary. Honestly, it’s difficult to believe that the director of BLACK FRIDAY could conceive NO SMOKING.
There’re hardly any songs in the narrative, but the one filmed on Jesse Randhawa [‘Jab Bhi Cigarette Peeta Hoon’] is imaginatively filmed. Surprisingly, the popular Bipasha Basu track, which has also been publicized extensively, is placed after the end titles.
John makes a sincere attempt to leave a mark and succeeds to an extent. Really, one wonders, what prompted John to instantly approve this bizarre story! Ayesha runs through her role mechanically. The supremely talented Ranvir Shorey is a big bore this time. Paresh Rawal is okay.
On the whole, NO SMOKING fails miserably. Very disappointing!