JEENA HAI TOH THOK DAAL 15 September, 2012

Rash Production Pvt. Ltd.’s Jeena Hai Toh Thok Daal (A) is about a group of four men who are into small crimes till they get one big job – to commit a murder. Chandrabhan (Ravi Kishan), Atka (Manish Vatsalya), Mahkoo (Yashpal Sharma) and Bitwa (Rahul Kumar) live in Purnea, a small town of Bihar, and make a living out of small crimes like pick-pocketing, robbery etc. One day, they get a chance to make quick money but for that, they would have to commit a murder in Bombay. The person to be killed is Shrishti (Hazel Crowney), daughter of a fearless media baron, Pawar (Govind Namdeo).

Rana (Sharat Saxena) hates Pawar because he keeps exposing the former’s evil deeds. To teach Pawar the lesson of a lifetime, Rana plots the murder of his only daughter, Shrishti. He seeks the help of a corrupt police officer, Hanumant Singh (Murali Sharma), who assigns the job to the group of four. This brings Chandrabhan, Atka, Mahkoo and Bitwa to Bombay. Even before the four are introduced to their subject, Chandrabhan sees Shrishti feeding the poor and is mesmerised by her beauty as much as by her goodness. To facilitate the killing, the four are given entry in Pawar’s house as Shrishti’s bodyguards when their first attempt to kill Shrishti goes awry because Chandrabhan is unable to shoot her dead. In Shrishti’s house also, Chandrabhan is not able to bring himself to fire at Shrishti. Atka realises this and takes it upon himself to kill Shrishti because he is only guided by the lakhs of rupees the four would be paid by way of fees for the murder. This creates tension between Chandrabhan and Atka. What is the stand of Mahkoo and Bitwa – do they support Chandrabhan or Atka? Does Pawar realise or not that the men he is harbouring in his house as his daughter’s bodyguards are, in fact, out to eliminate her? Is Chandrabhan able to save Shrishti or does Atka succeed in killing her?

Manish Vatsalya’s story and Saurabh Choudhary’s screenplay are routine and more an excuse for showing off the colourful language spoken by the four hooligans and police officers of Purnea as also by the other characters in the drama. It defies common sense why not one or two but four persons would be given the contract to kill a simple girl. The fact that someone would suspect four persons more than a single person or two persons has been completely overlooked. Why the four have to gain entry into Shrishti’s house has been sought to be explained in a half-hearted fashion. What’s probably even more ridiculous is the way the four ‘bodyguards’ are treated by Shrishti. Rather than her servants serving them meals, Shrishti is shown to be preparing meals for them as well as serving them herself. And the ‘bodyguards’ dine on presumably the same dining table as Shrishti and her father – as if they are esteemed guests of the family! Even the introduction of the hooligans risking their lives for small change thrown by religious-minded people from the train into the river flowing below looks weird. The writers seem to be absolutely clueless about what comprises an engaging story and screenplay and they further the drama according to convenience so that the script looks like the job of a novice. The build-up to the tension is half-baked and, therefore, fails to excite the viewers. The romance is forced and looks fake. Comedy is conspicuous by its absence. Emotions are nil. The drama is pathetic. Probably, the only thing in abundance is the foul language but even the liberal use of crude swear words fails to have the desired effect because there is precious little to talk of otherwise. Saurabh Choudhary’s dialogues reek of filthy words.

Ravi Kishan does fairly well but he has been shown less as a hooligan or a criminal and more as a romanticist. Manish Vatsalya acts ably. Yashpal Sharma performs quite well. Rahul Kumar gets very limited scope. Hazel Crowney passes muster. Pooja Welling has very few scenes and she is okay. Govind Namdeo does not have anything worthwhile to do. He is alright. Sharat Saxena also gets less scope. Murali Sharma is natural. Ashwini Kalsekar is effective as the I.G., again without much of a substantive role. Ganesh Yadav and Mukesh Bhatt are okay. Shubha Khote has been wasted.

Manish Vatsalya’s direction is juvenile. He has narrated the half-baked script without conviction. Music (by Siddhant Madhav and Shadaab-Abhik) is functional. Lyrics are commonplace. Song picturisations (by Ganesh Acharya) are okay. Mehmood Lala’s stunts are routine. Neelabh Kaul’s camerawork is ordinary. Satish Chipkar’s sets are commonplace. Editing (by Nipun Gupta) is average.

On the whole, Jeena Hai Toh Thok Daal is neither for the masses nor for the classes. With a weak face value and a weaker start, it will fail miserably at the box-office in the cities as well as in the smaller centres.

Released on 14-9-’12 at Shalimar and other cinemas of Bombay by Rash Productions. Publicity: okay. Opening: dull. …….Also released all over. Opening was weak almost everywhere but good in parts of Bihar where it has been shot.


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