Sarit Ray's review: Ferrari ki Sawaari

By Hindustan Times

Direction: Rajesh Mapuskar
Actors: Boman Irani, Sharman Joshi, Ritwik Sahore
Rating: ***

Rustam Deboo (Sharman Joshi) is a man you might meet on the streets of Mumbai. He’s the modest Parsi with neatly side-parted hair and round glasses who wears the sudreh-kusti, rides a scooter to work and lives in an old house with an ageing father (Boman Irani as Deboo). He barely manages to make ends meet on the salary of a head clerk at the RTO, yet is honest to a fault — when he runs a red light without getting caught, he finds a cop and insists on paying a fine. It’s the sort of thing only a Parsi would do.

The one extraordinary thing in their otherwise ho-hum life is Rustam’s son Kayo’s (Ritwik Sahore) talent for cricket. Of course, there are a million parents in this country who believe their boy is the next Sachin Tendulkar. The difference is that, within the premise of Ferrari Ki Sawaari, Kayo is the next Sachin Tendulkar who can send a ball scurrying off to the boundary at will.

But Ferrari… isn’t really another cricket movie (and thank God for that). At its heart, it is an underdog story, with an Everyman up against huge odds; the kind of movie that we have come to expect from a Rajkumar Hirani-Vidhu Vinod Chopra script. In both the Munnabhai films, a common, illiterate gangster overreaches himself, first by questioning a rigid medical system and then by fighting corruption and injustice with Gandhigiri; Rancho in 3 Idiots is an unlikely engineering student up against an education system based on rote-learning.

In first-time director Rajesh Mapuskar’s Ferrari… (Mapuskar was associate director to Hirani on Lage Raho Munnabhai and 3 Idiots), Rustam fights financial constraints and the politics of cricket selections to fulfil his son’s dream of playing at London’s Lord’s Cricket Ground.

That’s where the Ferrari comes in. The pressing need for money leads Rustam to take a reckless step and ‘borrow’ Sachin Tendulkar’s big red machine. A comedy of errors ensues, involving the wedding of a politician’s son, a hunt for the missing car, and Grandfather Deboo, who has a backstory of his own that, let’s just say, also concerns cricket.

The second half of the movie largely devotes itself to resolving this plot and does so entertainingly, with wit, humour and pathos. There is even a symbolic deus ex machina, with a god that comes riding on a bullock cart. Some stock characters exist purely for comic effect (the politician’s idiot son, Tendulkars’ domestic help and a bumbling security guard), but the central characters are well fleshed out. Sharman, one of the most underrated actors in Bollywood, is extremely convincing as the scrupulous Rustam (it’s astounding that in his 13 years in the industry, this is his first ‘lead’ role). Boman Irani excels as the cynical grandfather (of course, he has a natural advantage in playing a Parsi) and has some of the best lines in the movie — at one point, he calls the whole Lord’s affair a “recession scheme” by the West to make money.

The Hirani-Chopra influence, however, pervades the film — a morally upright, large-hearted protagonist; an old, brooding father (not entirely unlike the carrom-playing Parsi dad from Munnabhai), even a magic-realism song sequence.

Yet, judged on its own, Ferrari works as a film. It’s a story of reaching for your dreams, of endearing father-son relationships, and of moral lessons that aren’t preachy. It’s a formula that rarely fails — the sort of feel-good movie that makes for perfect Sunday viewing with the whole family.

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