Friday, November 21, 2008
The Vinay Pathak show
Methinks Vinay Pathak is making it a habit of starring in "low-budget" films with good direction and heart-warming performances. Even if the films aren't exactly "low-budget", they certainly aren't the ones with unnecessary foreign locales, superstars and idiotic scripts. In fact, the absence of these makes the audience focus on the story and acting, which is where the Vinay Pathak - Rajat Kapoor - Ranvir Shorey - Saurabh Shukla combine make their impression.
Look at the track record (am mentioning only those films which I've seen myself):
1. Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006) - Although Pathak didn't have majority of the screen-time here, he played a very pivotal role as Asif Iqbal who'd once worked for Khurana and bears a grudge against him. Asif is the one who sets off a chain of thoughts and mischievous events which ultimately help the Khoslas get their rightful plot of land back from the land-shark.
I do not think anybody had hitherto seriously noticed Vinay Pathak but he clearly caught the audience's attention in this film, in spite of the presence of the veteran Anupam Kher and the then newly and immensely popular Boman Irani.
2. Bheja Fry (2007) - A Hindi remake of the French film 'Le Diner de Cons', this was an out-and-out Vinay Pathak film. He carried the entire film on his shoulders as the Govt. employee who thinks he's a great singer in the making.
The quirks that he brought to the character (singing at every given opportunity, carefully adjusting the secret code keys everytime he closed his briefcase, the constant wrapping and unwrapping of his musical scrap-book from a noisy polythene bag) made the audience roll on the floor with laughter during the film and later smile as they thought of the numerous Bharat Bhushans they'd encountered in their daily lives.
3. Manorama Six Feet Under (2007) - I do not know many friends who've seen this little gem of a movie. Loosely based on the Roman Polanski film Chinatown (1974), Manorama... has another actor I'm really fond of: Abhay Deol. Pathak has a small but (again) significant role as Brijmohan, Abhay Deol's brother-in-law. The two are drinking buddies and Pathak fits the role of a small-town sub-inspector to a T.
4. Johnny Gaddar (2007) - A good Hindi film thriller after ages, Johnny Gaddar is a heist film where the leading role is played by Neil Nitin Mukesh. Pathak plays the role of Prakash, one of the five members of a gang who plan on making a deal which would take them into the big time. From the lovable husband who massages his wife's feet so that she may allow him to put the house on mortgage to the bumbling and over-confident gambler who continues to play despite losing all his money, Prakash endears himself to the audience whenever he appears on screen.
And now there's Dasvidaniya. I know, I know. Some will say it is Anand re-hashed, others will yell The Bucket List. But fact remains that Dasvidaniya has gotten recognized because of the fresh and original treatment given to the almost cliched subject of a man who knows he is going to die in a couple of months time. I haven't seen the film myself, but it has been highly recommended by my friends; the most qualified of whom is Priyanka who writes for The Telegraph. Read her review of the film here.
All in all, I have made up my mind that Vinay Pathak is an actor to watch out for. Call it multiplex cinema or the new-age Hrishikesh Mukherjee films, Mr. Pathak will surely feature in a lot more of them.