Film: Lai Bhari (Marathi with English subtitles)
Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Sharad Kelkar, Radhika Apte, Tanvi Azmi
Directed by: Nishikant Kamat
Duration: 2 hrs 25 mins
Rating: * *
When Marathi cinema, one of the most vibrant regional cinemas in the country today takes a plunge into hardcore commercial films, one tends to be a little skeptic. But when Lai Bhari (co-produced by Salman Khan) tries to ape Bollywood to the hilt, the disappointment hits a magnitude of 8 on the Richter scale.
Lai Bhari is what happens when Himmatwala meets Rowdy Rathore.
Director Nishikant Kamat made a couple of memorable films (Dombivili Fast and Mumbai Meri Jaan) before Bollywood sucked out his creativity with the John Abraham starred Force and now we have Lai Bhari and for those who understand the language, it is indeed quite bhari.
Riteish Deshmukh plays Prince, who takes over his father’s business empire but has to deal with an evil relative (Sharad Kelkar) who eliminates him - there is also a chase scene between an Ashok Leyland truck and his car. The truck wins hands down.
Tanvi Azmi plays his mother in a role that reminds us of Rakhee in Karan Arjun. In the holy city of Pandharpur, she bumps across his lookalike (Riteish again) who is a tapori. If you think the days of twin brothers separated at birth are long gone in films, then you are sadly mistaken. Mama recruits him seeking revenge for the death of her other son and in an elongated climax she is even tied to a pole by villains, as it used to happen in films of yore. All that was missing is the lair with those multicolored 10 watt bulbs.
The glamour quotient is fulfilled by Radhika Apte as the village damsel and Aaditi Pohankar as the city girl. The film is meant to appeal to a certain section of the audience, much like the Bollywood equivalents like Humshakals and Himmatwala. There is even a song where the heroine tries to seduce the villain to get his signature on property documents.
To spruce up the proceedings, Salman Khan also makes a cameo appearance and the joke about his real life ex-girlfriends is worth a chuckle. You feel sorry for Riteish Deshmukh who is saddled with such a terrible script.
The only thing bhari is your head after watching this film.
Published in The Navhind Times on 13th July 2014