‘RAMPRASAD KI TEHRVI’ | 1 January, 2021

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Joi Studios and Drishyam Films’ Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi is a satire. It talks about the politics of a large family against the backdrop of the patriarch’s death.

Ramprasad Bhargava (Naseeruddin Shah), a music teacher, passes away all of a sudden. His wife, referred to as Amma (Supriya Pathak Kapur) by everyone, is distraught. Her four sons live in different cities/towns and reach home for the funeral, one by one. The eldest is Gajraj (Manoj Pahwa), the second is Manoj (Ninad Kamat), the third is Pankaj (Vinay Pathak), and the youngest is Nishant (Parambrata Chatterjee). Their wives are Sushma (Deepika Amin), Sulekha (Divya Jagdale), Pratibha (Sadiya Siddiqui) and Seema (Konkona Sen Sharma) respectively. Bhargava and Amma have two married daughters too — the elder (Anubha Fatehpuria) and the younger (Sarika Singh), both of who are accompanied by their respective husbands, Prakash (Brijendra Kala) and the younger one (Shrikant Verma). The kids also come along. After the initial moments of sorrow, what unfolds is the undercurrent of tension between family members. The tension becomes more pronounced when it is revealed that the deceased had taken a bank loan on which there’s also unpaid interest which has accumulated. Another bothersome question is about where Amma will now stay. Amma’s brother (Vineet Kumar), his wife (Yamini Das), and Ramprasad’s sister (Pushpa Joshi) don’t really make matters any better.

The story deals with family relations which are more formal till all members assemble on an occasion like death, after which reality hits everyone hard. It is interesting and quite insightful. Seema Pahwa’s screenplay suggests that she has observed families and the interactions between family members very closely. The unfolding drama becomes identifiable because every viewer will find at least a couple of characters similar to those in his/her family. But while the humour impresses upto a point, it reduces a great deal after that. Once the satire and humour decline, the drama appears to be repetitive. Besides, since the family members have so many differences between themselves, the viewers don’t get up with a very happy frame of mind at the end. Had the humour been terrific, even the family fights would not have left a bad taste in the mouth. At best, the screenplay is of the kind which will appeal to a thin section of the class audience. Also, the film does not give the feeling of completeness as it goes on and on about the bickerings and the fights. In other words, it raises problems but the solutions offered don’t really give the audience a high. The drama reminds of Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding. In that film, family skeletons come tumbling out of the cupboard against the backdrop of a wedding while in this one, they come out against the backdrop of a bereavement. Seema Pahwa’s dialogues are very good.

Supriya Pathak Kapur does well as Amma but she looks younger than the character she plays. Manoj Pahwa is effective as Gajraj. Ninad Kamat makes his presence felt in the role of Manoj. Vinay Pathak is natural as Pankaj. Parambrata Chatterjee is impactful as Nishant who speaks sparingly. Parambrata Chatterjee also plays the younger Ramprasad with conviction. As Nishant’s actress-wife, Konkona Sen Sharma makes a fine mark. Deepika Amin lends credence to the character of Sushma. Divya Jagdale is lovely as Sulekha. Sadiya Siddiqui has her moments as Pratibha. Vineet Kumar is excellent as Amma’s brother. As his wife, Yamini Das leaves a mark. Vikrant Massey shines as Amma’s grandson. Anubha Fatehpuria is wonderful as the elder daughter of Amma. Sarika Singh also does a truly fine job as Amma’s younger daughter. Brijendra Kala is nice as the elder son-in-law of Amma. In the role of the younger son-in-law, Shrikant Verma is quite good. Rajendra Gupta entertains as Ramprasad’s elder brother. Pushpa Joshi performs very well as Ramprasad’s sister. Naseeruddin Shah lends star value in a brief role as Ramprasad. Manukriti Pahwa makes an impact as Bitto. Sanah Kapur is good as the younger Amma. Siddharth Gautam (as Bhajanlal), Alka Kaushal (as Amma’s neighbour, Sheila), Sawan Tank, Mahesh Sharma, Jaya Virlley (as Pakhi), Neivan Ahuja (as Saksham), Ekagrah Dwivedi and Ananya Dwivedi (both as kids of Pankaj) and the rest lend decent support.

Although this is her maiden attempt, Seema Pahwa’s direction is good. She knows the craft of narrating a story. Music (Sagar Desai) is alright. A couple of songs sound nice while watching the film but none of the songs stays with the audience. Lyrics (Neeraj Pandey) are in synch with the mood of the film. Sagar Desai’s background music is alright. Sudip Sengupta’s camerawork is quite good. Parijat Poddar’s production designing and Krishna Swain’s art direction are of a fine standard. Dipika Kalra’s editing is reasonably sharp.

On the whole, Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi is a decently-made film but with very limited and elitist appeal. Therefore, it will not be able to perform well enough at the ticket windows. Low footfalls at cinemas due to fear of the coronavirus will only add to the film’s tale of woes.

Released on 31-12-’20 at PVR Lower Parel (1 show; in daily 4 shows from 1-1-’21) and some cinemas and on 1-1-’21 at Inox (daily 3 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay thru UFO Cine Media Network. Publicity: dull. Opening: very poor. …….Also released all over. Opening was weak everywhere.