Do Dooni Chaar: Take #1393

So I went and saw the movie and without much ado, would like to begin talking about it. Mind you, this is a long review and (not wholly professional, as a result). Oh and, if you plan to watch the movie (and i do believe you should), maybe you shouldn’t go ahead with reading this. It’s a SPOILER ALERT!!! :P

Do Dooni Chaar is a movie that begins and ends with the viewer. As in, it’s full of these little personal experiences that pepper our everyday life; things that make us who we are and things that our usual Hindi movies sadly, fail to capture.

It’s got this “desh ki dharti” feel to it: very relatable-to and hugely enjoyable. Makes you smile as the story unfolds through the medium of your own memories. The story of a middle-class family who, under immense pressure from family and neighbours alike, wants to buy a car is hardly a new one for us Indians. And for all the predictability of the concept, the movie never seems jaded or deja-vu-ed. The four characters, Santosh Duggal (Rishi Kapoor) a 51-year-old maths teacher in a small private school, Kusum Duggal (Neetu Kapoor) his doting and very smart wife, Payal Duggal (Aditi Vasudev) the feisty college-going daughter and ofcourse, hamara apna Sandeep/Sandy/Deepu (it took me a while to find out what the character’s real name was) Archit Krishna, are immensely entertaining with all their quirks and (what I liked best) such incredible actors!

The story begins by displaying the absolute tightened-belt atmosphere that the family survives in. Corners are cut everywhere: Mr. Duggal takes extra classes at his tuition centre, Mrs. Duggal buys only half the groceries that she wants to and Ms. Duggal drives around grumpily in her ‘son of a jeweller’ boyfriend’s i10 (atleast that’s what I’m hoping the car was). And yet, we wonder, what gives the young Mr. Duggal the ability to eat chicken with his girlfriend (the same piece, mind you) at KFC and dole out notes after notes of Rs. 500?

Now, we change tack and see Mr. Duggal’s sister announce that not only must the family come to a wedding in Meerut, but they must come in a car- after all, it’s the sister’s izzat ka sawaal in front of all her devraanis and jethaanis . Hence begins one of the most enjoyable parts of the movie- The Great Indian Wedding. The family sets out, with Payal at the wheel, in an Esteem borrowed from their neighbours. The whole episode of changing the music channel from Pappu Can’t Dance Saala to some Hindi oldie made me shake my head in fond remembrance of the same tussles with mom.
Then begins the wedding. There are a hundred hands to shake, even more relatives to remember and so much to eat! We sit back and enjoy the sounds and images of a typical punjabi wedding, right down to the little kids playing on the stage where the bride and groom’s chairs are. I do have one complaint, the shaadi dance sequence was great. But the song? Not quite. I just wished we could’ve got another Gal mithhi mithhi bol.

The story progresses satisfactorily, taking on issues from every nook and cranny of the Indian Existence: from call-centres, sting operations, bribing, inter-colony bonds, McDonalds and so, so much more. The plot (and the many sub-plots) unfold in a simplistically funny manner and leave you feeling fulfilled at the end of it all. Like I’ve already said, what really makes this movie endearing is the very real depiction of Indian middle-class life. The paanchso pachpan soap and the fact that some family member or the other is dissatisfied with the newest purchase- SO believable!!

While the gambling angle is interesting and handled well, I do feel the part when the gang is busted and the subsequent panic at home could’ve been given some more screen space. As in, it begins satisfactorily, with Deepu abandoning his girlfriend and the Toblerone ;) to smash his phone and destroy all proof, but there simply wasn’t enough action at home to impress the gravity of the situation upon us. The family was, in all brutality of honesty, too nice to him :P But then again, in the same stark innocence that is so characteristic of this movie, Mr. Duggal makes Deepu distribute all the money to the beggars and manages to teach us, with beautiful subtlety the joy of giving.

Another important lesson to be learnt from this movie is the importance and perhaps more so in India, of teachers. The teacher- student scene at McD’s was cheesy, but very, very cool. Really, when the kids graffiti all over the Duggal Express, I thought to myself, what a lot these teachers have to go through!! And it’s true, they put up with us in school and then kids and a gazillion other things at home. They deserve every little bit of respect and love we can give. And I really do have to give it to Mr. Duggal for reminding me of that.

All in all, a don’t-miss-it-if-you-can-help it movie to remind us of the very small, oft-forgotten things around us. Go watch it :)