Film: The President Is Coming
Banner: Ramesh Sippy Entertainment
Producer: Rohan Sippy
Director: Kunnal Roy Kapur
Cast: Konkona Sen Sharma, Namit Das, Shernaz Patel, Vivek Gomber, Anand Tiwari, Shivani Tanksale, Satchit Puranik, Ira Dubey
It simply hurts watching this film and that is a fantastic thing. Laughing hysterically is what this film will have you do. Based on the 2006 visit of the US president George Bush to India; the film highlights the meeting of the US president with one young Indian responsible for shaping ‘New India’. Taking off from there the film amplifies this event and weaves an out and out comedy feature that is worth watching.
The action begins with the hiring of the PR agency that is responsible to find that one enterprising Indian to meet the president. With scores of candidates, six top Indian achievers under 30 are chosen and put to the test. Spearheading the whole bizarre test is Samantha (Shernaz Patel) and her assistant Ritu (Shivani Tanksale). The two put the six contestants through arduous and inane tasks in order to determine the ideal candidate. But then the chosen six, come with different pasts; slowly revealed through the challenges. While some are innocent, a few are just not what they seem.
One of the toughest genres of films to make is indeed comedy. The President Is Coming is a fine example of situations that when treated right turn intensely funny. The finesse in the dialogues that seem so colloquial and natural yet stuffed with laughter is praiseworthy. This is supported by well crafted characters that have a background to them is another aspect that is noteworthy. Small things like the use of abusive words and actions add volumes to the character and the film; the director and writer seem to have splendid knowledge of. The thing is while in most other films it might seem forced, but simply because of the characters created and the situation, all this blends perfectly without being contrived and for the heck of it.
Another aspect that is noteworthy is that knowingly or unknowingly the film addresses and showcases a lot many facets of a younger India. It addresses feminism, male chauvinism, homosexuality and brain drain apart from other things. Perhaps that is reading too much into the film but for those who read into it, will also walk out smiling simply because the film is not shallow and indeed has a sub layer that is equally interesting. For a film that has no great star cast and is simply performance and character driven, it certainly is worth a watch.
However praises aside, at times the film does seem to drag. The film rises through the first half and half way through the second half reaches the zenith, then all of a sudden comes tumbling down with a ridiculous climax. There are a few moments in the film, which seem insignificant in the larger picture, but then it really doesn’t hamper the film much. Even technically the film is proficient. Had the film been edited a tad better with more softness, it would have ended up being an even more splendid product.
For a movie that does not have the regular super stars you are used to watching, this one boasts of splendid performances that even they perhaps would not be able to carry off. Konkona Sen Sharma as Maya Roy is outstanding. She is her character and that is splendid. Namit Das as the software engineer has fantastic comic timing and is thoroughly convincing. Satchit Puranik as the social worker puts up a noteworthy performance and his scenes with Sharma make you stand up and take notice. Vivek Gomber as the accent trainer too puts up a dazzling act. Watch the scene where he is talking to the Bush mannequin, incredibly real. Shernaz Patel and Shivani Tanksale are remarkable and the chemistry they share is great. Of all the performances it is Ira Dubey and Anand Tiwari that disappoint the most. They do well, but fall majorly short of standing out.
This film is pure laughter therapy. It’s smart, sassy and thoroughly hilarious. The film rolls exactly for the right amount of time, just about enough for you to forget all your troubles. Do watch this one, it’s strongly recommended.