REVIEW: ‘Mere Dad Ki Maruti’ – By The Youth, For The Youth

'Mere Dad Ki Maruti' is definitely unlikely to appeal to anyone born before 1990 or with an IQ of over 50!

It’s in the title, so what more can you expect than an hour and half long commercial for Maruti cars? Well, a little more than that. Firstly, it’s a 101-minute commercial for one specific model, with plenty of scenes visually or verbally enumerating the virtues of the car.

Secondly, there is the coming of age story of teenager Sameer (Saqib Saleem) who manages to lose the brand new car his father (Ram Kapoor) has bought as a gift for his soon-to-be son-in-law. Events unfold during the days before Sameer’s sister Tanvi’s wedding. During this time the car is delivered, snuck out by Sameer to impress a college bimbo (Rhea Chakraborty), lost and eventually found, in time for his sister’s farewell.

There are few surprises in the script. It’s all very Chandigarh-Punjabi in mood, milieu and dialogue with a drunk or barking father disappointed in his irresponsible son’s attitude. Sameer is the college wannabe who gets one chance to impress Jasleen, but he needs the sparkling new car to do so. Accompanying him everywhere like a fifth wheel is his friend Gattu (Prabal Punjabi).

Most of the characters appear rather intellectually challenged or hard of hearing. Plus the script has notable inconsistencies in terms of the style of speaking English – either its comically bad or reasonably correct. Oh, yes, there’s Ravi Kishen too – as Hussian, a goon in Chandigarh.

If the film doesn’t crash and burn, it’s largely thanks to debutant director Ashima Chibber’s confident handling of juvenile material. Saqib Saleem is easy on the eyes. Prabal Punjabi is delightful. Ram Kapoor clearly enjoyed playing the boisterous dad at the big fat Punjabi wedding. Rhea Chakraborty has moments but is inconsistent.

This is definitely a film by the youth, for the youth and unlikely to appeal to anyone born before 1990 or with an IQ of over 50! It is likely to boost sales of the said car, at least in Punjab.

Rating: **1/2

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Udita Jhunjhunwala

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