(Published in The Sunday Guardian on 17 June, 2012, retrieved from http://www.sunday-guardian.com/masala-art/a-slow-ride-this-one)
Cast: Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani, Ritvik Sahore, Paresh Rawal
Director: Rajesh Mapuskar
Rating: 2 stars
I have no problem with fables – I quite enjoy dreamy films with a pinch of reality, as long as they’re conscious of their genre. But Ferrari ki Sawaari gets the mix wrong. With excellent cinematography enmeshed with hoary old clichés, the film leaves you cold just when you’re beginning to think you can relate to it.
So, there’s doting single dad Rustam Deboo (Sharman Joshi), an RTO employee whom Anna Hazare would readily back for Lokpal, and Gandhi would call old-fashioned. He’s honest to a fault, insisting on paying penalties for skipping traffic lights and whatnot; and he doesn’t own a mobile...justlikethat. Well, his eventual acquisition of a phone is annoyingly farcical, so let’s leave that alone. But he’d throw all his principles away just to fulfil his motherless son Kayo’s (Ritvik Sahore) big fantasy.
All right, it’s a Bollywood movie, we can swallow that; we can also swallow a man who’s only ridden buses and scooters zipping around town in a Ferrari; and we can swallow that the Ferrari happens to be “borrowed” from the much-loved son’s idol. But what makes me queasy is the plethora of maudlin in the second half. Aided by sentimental music, the last hour of the film feels like cardio for the lachrymal glands.
Sharman Joshi, in his first lead role, does as well as he can, and looks the part of the well-intentioned father. But we’re so used to him playing the pathetic nice guy in films like Life in a...Metro that the slightest mush from him seems a tad too much.
Add to all this a grumpy Bawa (Boman Irani), who’s still miffed over missing a bus and hence a legendary cricket career, thanks to the villainy of Dilip Dharamadhikari (Paresh Rawal), and an obsequious-yet-loud-mouthed wedding planner (Seema Bhargava). This trio does lift the film at times, but mostly, you feel you’re waiting for the story to pick up pace. Vidya Balan’s much-touted item number Mala Jau De only serves to make it lag further.
The main problem with what could so easily have been a feel-good entertainer is that the audience is always a couple of steps ahead. Every mishap is a set-up, and you know exactly when one of the characters will mess up, and when there will be a twist in the tale, and how that will happen too.
The Verdict: You know when you order hot chocolate, and the waiter loads it with too much syrup? That’s what this film feels like.