Fukrey: Uncontrollable laughter guaranteed!
Indra Kumar followed a simple formula for success back in the 90s. Typically, the first half of his films would be based on comedy, while the second half would be a tear jerker.
David Dhawan followed a similar approach in some of his films. Additionally films like Dil, Ishq and Shola aur Shabnam were along the same lines. Karan Johar with his Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham improvised on the same formula. We can find similarities with Priyadarshan’s brand of humor as well. Then, on the turn of the millennium, Raju Hirani took this method to a whole new level. In both his Munna Bhai films as well as in 3 Idiots, Raju took the audience through an emotional roller coaster ride where there was no plausible interval between comic sequences and emotional drama. One moment, his audience would be laughing non-stop and the next moment they would be overcome by heartfelt sentiment.
Mrigdeep Singh Lamba’s Fukrey has mirrored the style established by Raju Hirani. There are multiple moments in the film where you have not fully recovered from your laughter when a new development in the story leaves your mind reeling with emotion. Having said that, like the predecessors of this method, Fukrey is primarily a comedy film, something like Delhi Belly with a Punjabi touch.
Fukrey revolves around four guys, not necessarily friends, but trapped together in some interesting (read: tricky) situations. Humor ensues and they eventually conquer the challenges faced, predictably so. While the basic premise has nothing new to offer, it is the underlying tones in the script and treatment of the screenplay that distinguish the film. Fukrey does not offer a perfect protagonist like ‘Rancho’ of 3 Idiots. To the contrary, the heroes are weak individuals looking for shortcuts in life. They have no money, they can’t study and they are willing to cheat their way into a college admission.
While the film follows the tried and tested mix of several directors, Fukrey neither bores the audience, nor does it seem repetitive.
The charm of Fukrey is boosted by its committed cast. The characters are detailed and fun. ‘Bholi Punjaban’, for example, carries a dappled personality: she is narcissistic and foul-mouthed with a ‘Sindrella’ tattoo on her neck. Meanwhile, the college watchman ‘Pandit’ - a kind, soft spoken yet corrupt guy, leaks exam papers, seeking backdoor registration for unqualified students in exchange for money. Both Richa Chadda and Pankaj Tripathi have handled their roles splendidly. Seeing Richa in a purely comic role after her intense acting in Gangs of Wasseypur was a joy. Similarly, Pankaj Triptahi’s role was a complete contrast to his performance in Gangs of Wasseypur, showing his adaptability as an actor.
The four protagonists of the film are also well-selected. While Ali Fazal as ‘Zafar’ is relatively unimpressive, the other three leads are hilarious. Pulkit Samrat, being the smart wizard, reminds you of ‘Amar’ from Andaz Apna Apna or ‘Raju’ of Hera Pheri – good at heart but willing to make easy money through shady means. Pulkit’s comic timing is spectacular and his chemistry with ‘Choocha’ is excellent. ‘Choocha’ on the other hand is a cross between ‘Zach Galfianikis’ of Hangover and ‘Babu Bhaiyya’ of Hera Pheri. He is spectacular when it comes to dreaming the lottery results but a certified idiot in all other respects. Still, he surprises you when it comes to his survival instincts. His scenes with Richa Chadda are utterly hilarious. Manjot Singh is also enjoyable in his role as ‘Sardar Ji’. He portrays a nice guy who does not want to charge people who eat at his father’s shop yet wishes for admission into a college without having to study for it. He swears that he will teach a lesson to his cheating girlfriend but ends up waving and smiling at her.
In the first fifteen minutes of the film, I thought that Fukrey will offer several smiles but fall short of making me laugh. I spent the next hour and a half laughing uncontrollably at the characters’ antics. I highly recommended watching Fukrey!
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