By Hindustan Times
My Friend Pinto
Director: Raaghav Dar
Actors: Prateik Babbar, Arjun Mathur
The human brain, it is said, can't handle more than 30 friends at one time. Or so says this Bombay boy Sameer (Arjun Mathur), his name obviously now shortened to Sam, who, like all of us, suddenly has hundreds of friends on his Facebook. One Michael Pinto isn’t one of them. Though for Pinto, Sam is his only friend.
While it doesn’t immediately seem so, young Mr Pinto’s quite a guy. His only dream's to be a good son. It appears he’s just lost his mother. He lives, I suppose, in Goa, and is on a week’s vacation, before he can finally become a priest. There was a film named after his uncle Albert, he reminds you, who used to get angry a lot (Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai). Now that’s a 1980 Saeed Mirza movie that very few people have actually seen, but most will recognise from puns on its title that appear ad infinitum in the press even now. Things enter lexicon and pop-culture in mysterious ways.
Anyway, as you can tell, this film’s lead character has some sort of a movie pedigree. Of course, unlike his uncle Albert, he knows no anger, is remarkably credulous, clueless, some could mistake him for being mildly retarded even. He’s the proverbial village idiot. If you were to search for his other filmic roots, the tramp, immortalised by Charlie Chaplin in early Hollywood, adopted by Raj Kapoor in the ‘50s, might just come close.
Things happen to Michael Pinto. It’s New Year’s Eve. He’s in Mumbai. His only buddy Sam is his unwilling host. That buddy and his wife leave him behind at home, alone. By certain quirks or circumstances, Pinto’s now out on the city’s streets. He takes it all in. As do his audiences, who must remain seriously suspended in disbelief to be able to sit through this. Much like the fellow who hangs in mid-air with his t-shirt stuck to a building's scaffolding throughout this film. The tone remains entirely goofy. Or at least that's the attempt.
Prateik Babbar (Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Dum Maaro Dum) plays Pinto. There is a visceral quality to his screen presence. You can sense it right away. It may not be enough to support an entire m