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A lot of present-day directors seem inspired by Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee's movies. The veterans told simple stories in the most simplistic manner. Director Kedarh Shinde, one presumes, also seems inspired by their master works and attempts to narrate a story that's identifiable and at the same time, dipped in humour.
But TOH BAAT PAKKI is not as invigorating as one expects it to be. The film has some wonderful moments, some old-world charm, but the humour, at several points, falls flat. Especially towards the penultimate portions. Final word? It's a half-baked fare!
Rajeshwari [Tabu], married to Vinay [Ayub Khan], dreams of getting her sister Nisha [Yuvika Choudhary] married to the most suitable boy within their Saxena community. Also, Rajeshwari is against the dowry system.
Rajeshwari finds a good Saxena boy studying engineering and has prospects of a promising future. Rahul [Sharman Joshi] is a good proposition for her sister and she even gets him to move into her house as a paying guest.
However, when Rajeshwari learns that Rahul is not interested in marriage, she smartly devices a plan to bring her sister and make them get to know each other. She's confident that once he meets Nisha, there is no turning away. They fall in love. Rajeshwari is happy. Marriage is fixed.
Things take a turn when Yuvraaj [Vatsal Sheth] lands up at Rajeshwari's house. Yuvraaj is also a Saxena. He has a good job and is waiting to move into his house. Rajeshwari can't believe her luck. This is a better prospect. The story takes a turn when Rajeshwari tries to set up Nisha with Yuvraaj.
The problem with most storytellers is, the story they choose may sound convincing at narration level, but what eventually unfolds on screen is half as convincing. On paper, the 4-para synopsis of TOH BAAT PAKKI holds promise, but the screenplay, spread over two hours, has its share of hiccups.
For instance, the portions depicting Sharman helping Tabu during the marriage celebrations are far from convincing. In fact, the screenplay starts losing its grip from hereon. Even Sharman's attempts to poison Himani Shivpuri and Vatsal Sheth's mind appears childish. Ditto for the abduction drama towards the end. The Sharat Saxena track also looks forced.
Kedarh Shinde's direction holds your attention at a few places only. Especially during Tabu and Sharman's portions towards the first half. But the patchy writing lets him down. Pritam's music doesn't work, except 'Jis Din Mera Byaah'. Dialogues are too flowery at times.
Tabu is a pleasure to watch. She's natural and it must be said that it gets difficult to move your eyes when she's on screen. Sharman, again, is likable and gets it right. Vatsal does fairly well. Yuvika doesn't get much scope. Ayub Khan is passable. Himani Shivpuri and Suhasini Mulay are as usual. Upasna Singh is loud.
On the whole, TOH BAAT PAKKI has a few interesting moments, but not enough to keep you hooked. It will have to rely on a strong word of mouth, especially from family audiences, to stay afloat.
Rating : **
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