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Colaba-based Rishi Sharma and his wife, Simi, hope their friends, Samit and Mita are pregnant when they get together, but instead they inform them that they are separating. Shocked at this news, they attempt to figure out what went wrong. Eventually Samit moves out and lives with Kaya, an Aerobics and Yoga instructor, while Mita has an admirer in Veer, Simi's co-worker. Eventually the estranged couple find they cannot live without each other and patch-up. The foursome get together to celebrate, and this is where Rishi and Simi will find that their seemingly harmonious married life is not perfect either. Written by
A refreshing no-holds barred take on DINK marriages
Dil Kabaddi is another "event" that fills the heart with joy. Just to see story-tellers (and not just star kids and diamond merchants) get a chance to create real cinema in Bollywood is so heartening. We loved this movie and so did the half-empty PVR audience, median age 35, if the constant eruptions of gleeful laughter are any indication.
Unlike many good attempts, Dil Kabaddi does not falter in the second half simply because the director had a POINT to make. Maybe he has Woody Allen to thank for it, but this did not become a montage of slick shots against Mumbai's backdrop. All the humor and all the "slice of life" shots told a story. This is where the movie truly scores.
The other reason for its success, of course, is the excellent casting and performance. Each character was well-etched, including the "almost correct" English grammar and "avant garde" dress sense of Samit. His pairing with an intellectual, stylish, smart Mita is not that surprising in today's aspirational India-- a lot of successful women are truly happy with a less successful husband. I also liked the minor characters of ex-boyfriend, office hunk and Chirag the lech neighbor. Their body language and motivations reveal a well-written character as part of the screenplay. Something so rare even in mainstream Bollywood cinema. Ditto for the sex-jokes; they were much more tasteful than what is dished out in family-comedy "U" rated movies every week. That said, the "Kaaya" character could have been better etched.
Perhaps the movie targets a very specific audience, the mid-30s Indian, that grew up on Karan Johar's bubble-gum romance in the 90s and are "happily" married for 4-7 years now, like the characters in the movie. It is possible that this crowd will laugh the loudest, while those older and younger may find less to identify with in this story. They may yet discover it on DVD a few years later and laugh hearty. At its core, it is a story about our quest for love and our failure to recognize it when it happens. A tale of finding love versus our 'fantasy' of love.
While some have panned the movie for it's shameless copy of Husbands and Wives by Woody Allen, others have cringed at the barrage of sexual jokes and innuendo. In my opinion, it works where Mixed Doubles (the previous multiplex outing about infidelity) failed simply because it does not hold back or have any intellectual pretense. The movie keeps you laughing almost the entire time and yet makes an honest observation about modern Indian marriages.
The fact that it holds true for India 16 years after Woody Allen's 1992 original is a telling comment on Indian society playing catch-up with the west. For better or for worse...
5 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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