Film: Mumbai Salsa
Director: Manoj Tyagi
Producer: ASA Films
Cast: Vir Das, Indraneil Sengupta, Ray Irani, Dilip Thadeshwar, Manjari Fadnis, Linda Arsenio, Amruta & Neelam Chauhan.
Vikram Bhatt got it partly better this time. His maiden venture as a producer holds much more promise than his directorial ventures have in a long time and maybe the credit for it goes to his director Manoj Tyagi. Having said that, Mumbai Salsa is a feel-good but mediocre film about eight youngsters in a metro trying to find love and their triumphs and failures. Mumbai Salsa is a pub-disco that these youngsters frequent to find whatever is lacking in their lives and in a major way it also acts as a sutradhar, appearing at crucial moments.
Mumbai Salsa is about finding true love and being scared of it, of gender equations between lovers, difference in priorities, infidelity and perceptions of gender roles and functions of relationships shaped by cultural biases. The ensemble of characters exemplifying each of these is well-etched but remains detached. While their trials and tribulations engage you nothing really moves you nor are you rooting for anyone in particular towards the end.
The movie attempts to raise several questions which pertain to todayâ€™s generations, its attitudes and relationships. It speaks particularly to an urban audience mainly through a number of clichÃ©s trying hard to make a difference. The fact that the voice behind it is lesser evolved and vision far narrower lets an otherwise OK film down.
The mediocrity of its vision is the films biggest failing. It fails to take us beyond the problems raised with more than custom-made and didactic solutions. Secondly, the audience never really understands which is greater in the film, the context or the characters of the film. A distinct flaw of screenwriting.
The film, with its subject, tone of voice, and primary concerns recalls the recently-released Metro much to its own discredit because the former neither has the form, class or poise of the latter and what it has of its own is not really worth it. The production values are tasteful and carry the audience through till the ending. That, coupled with fresh faces invites interest in the film, helping it roll along.
The casting is a mixed bag of sorts. While the girls impress through and through from the lead actress Manjari Fadnis to Amruta Khanvilkar to Linda Arsenio to even VJ Neelam Chauhan, the boys somewhat disappoint. The lead actor Vir Das constantly reminds one of a watered down version of Rahul Bose with his anglicized Hindi and urban mannerisms that donâ€™t quite gel to make him believable or endearing. Indraneil Sengupta is below average in the acting department and so is Dilip Thadeshwar. Ray Irani manages to pull off his role due to the inherent flair in his character and thatâ€™s it. On the other hand Manjari, Amruta and Linda quite impress with the control they display over their characters and succeeding in making them almost lovable.
Technically, the film is not inspiring either. Cinematography is competent except that at times one wonders whether focus is soft or it is the work of some wondrous filters. Nevertheless, art direction has class and costumes finesse. Music is different from the rest of the dhin-chak we hear but not enough to become chartbusters or remain in the memory. Overall, the film is an average product that tries to speak to a niche urban multiplex audience and address their concerns. Sadly, it does not take-off at any level to appeal to its target emotionally or intellectually making it a dud at the box-office especially as the masses are going to remain away for sure. The writer of Page 3, Apaharan and Corporate could have definitely done better.