Review of ‘Fukrey’ a 2013 Bollywood Film By Mrigdeep Singh Lamba Starring Pulkit Sharma, Richa Chadda, Manjot Singh, Ali Fazal, Varuna Sharma

GRADE: CC / 40%

Summary: Fukrey is an overwrought, overindulgent effort that’s got little of the subtlety it requires. Characters are quirky for the sake of being quirky, and every scene is laboured down by excess of dialogues, mostly corny and pakau. This Fukrey is ‘phuski’ for me.

When characters in a movie are quirky just for the sake of being quirky, we begin wondering why they are acting weirdly. Fukrey has a minor character who steals cylinders and petrol tank of vehicles, maybe because he is addicted to the smell of petrol or he is an arsonist; we’ll never know the reason why he does so, nor shall we ever know why he’s dressed like a beggar when he reveals to everybody’s surprise that he is very rich and owns a couple of rental establishments.

His oddity has no justification, and that annoys us; the problem here is that Fukrey is set in a ‘real’ world inside the film and that’s different from say Quentin Tarantino‘s movies, which feel as though they’re set in another world, Tarantino’s world. That stamp is missing in Fukrey, and if this is a true representation of Delhi, then I’d seriously think twice before booking a ticket because Fukrey is ‘pakau’.

It is pakau to an extent that I found myself wondering “Where the heck are these guys going?” about three or four times during the film. I sighed loudly a couple of times. I threw my hands in the air out of despair once. In the second half, when one character was rambling endlessly, my mind screamed “Stop!” in exasperation. 

The problem with Fukrey is that dialogue writer (and director) Mrigdeep Singh Lamba makes it very obvious that it’s his debut effort; the film is overindulgent, and it does not have a clue when it should stop and that’s why all the subtlety is lost.

It seems as though Lamba was thinking this while shooting the film: ‘Just look at all these Bollywood directors, making films that barely have stuff. I’ll make a film that has lots of stuff: a crackling narrative with loads of dialogues, totally eccentric characters and the daring-and-dhamaal Delhi attitude. Those choo-chi-yaas ki maa ki chooch!’. And so his film includes characters with nicknames like ‘Choocha’ (and its variations used as euphemisms for Hindi gaalis/swearwords) and ‘Bholi Punjaban’, and attitude-wale dialogues like ‘Agar paise nahin mile to tere pichwade  ko khol ke nikaaloongi (If I don’t get my money back, I’ll rip your a** apart to get it!).

Everyone tries so hard to entertain us, to be different  that the final product ends up feeling stodgy and overcooked; the film’s pace derails so often I felt like the movie was an hour too long. The word ‘derail’ reminds me of the couple of shots of a passing train I saw during the film; I kept thinking that the train would be used for a scene at some point because its seen quite often, but it never is. Fukrey takes up too many things, and hardly does justice to an of them.

I come to the plot first. Four guys – Lali, a Sardar ka puttar working at his daddy’s dhaba, Dilip aka Hunny and Vikas aka Choocha, two slackers who want to enter college only cos the chicks are hot, and Zafar, a guitarist who dreams of recording an album but falters every time opportunity knocks his door – agree to do a ‘jugaad’ (gamble) by striking a deal with a local female don Bholi Punjaban (she has ‘Sin-drella’ tattooed on her back. ‘She’s the baddest b*tch!’… At least the film wants us to think so). 

The deal involves something to do with lottery that I don’t remember clearly because of so many ridiculous dialogues hammered at me, but I remember it having to do with Choocha’s symbolic dreams which Hunny believes can help predict the winning lottery number. When the four fukreys (the word used by Bholi for addressing the four) fail to pay back her money, she makes their lives difficult. She asks them to sell drugs at a rave party, then informs maliciously the police to raid the party and frame the four. She threatens to seize Lali’s father’s dhaba with the property papers pawned by Lali. She has tough African henchmen waiting to break their bones in case they falter. 

The movie also has to do with Choocha and Hunny leaking exam papers but I don’t know what ultimately happened to that. Many other insignificant things take place during the film but I don’t recall them. At points, Fukrey seems like a couple of sketches featuring recurring characters glues together to give a feel of continuity. You often forget where the film was heading in the previous scenes, and you also fail to understand the characters’ intentions at times. 

Fukrey is unnecessarily dense, and should be condensed quite a bit to make sense as a film. I see effort, but little wit. This film would work better when it follows ‘Less is more’. Fukrey is a bit ‘phuski’ for me.

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