Despite a weak script ‘Nautanki Saala’ is a successful film thanks to the powerful performances by its male leads, its excellent soundtrack and up to some extent the cinematography. The darker side is that the female actors miss a lot in acting and the script seriously fails though adopted from Pierre Salvadori’s French play `Apres Vous`.
Plot – Ram Parmar (Ayushmann Khurrana) and a ‘ditched by girlfriend’ guy, Mandar Lele (Kunaal Roy Kapur) meet on a Mumbai street just as Mandar is about to hang himself. Ram, the actor and director of Raavanleela, an ongoing popular play, takes him under his shelter and subsequently tries to bring back his new BFF’s ladylove, Nandini ( Pooja) to his life to make everything right. Ram is in a relationship with a girl Chitra (Gaelyn Mendonca), who leaves him meanwhile. In the bid to bring Nandini back into Mandar`s life, RP somehow falls for Nandini`s charms and vice-versa.
After watching the film it seems, the `Vicky Donor` actor, Ayushmann could have waited for a better script to come his way as the script and his character building ( also others’) in the film miss out somewhere.
The music track of the film is worth listening to, with a special mention for songs like ‘Saadi gali aja’, which is co-composed and sung Ayushmann Khurana, ‘Dil ki toh lag gayi’ and ‘Dramebaaz’. In fact besides the ‘Dhak Dhak’ remix, all other songs in the soundtrack is enchanting and memorable.
The cinematography by Manoj Lobo is quite a treat for the eyes. Also, the costumes used for enacting the theatre sequences in the film are innovative and deserves admiring.
The Cameo by Abhishek Bachchan is a perfect treat to the film.
Chemistry between the lead pair is heavily missing. While Ayushmann does try to make an effort to spice up the romance with the girl, his efforts seem to be in vain due to no fault of him. We could not appreciate acting of Pooja Salvi, the female protagonist.
No doubt, the film is powered by superb acting by Kunal Roy Kapoor and Ayushman. The two of them together are one of the most enjoyable duos we’ve seen in a while. Take the scene where Mandar auditions for one of the leads in RP’s play and his appearance as Hanuman is mind-blowing.
In fact, Khurrana’s boy-next-door appeal attracts a lot though his character is haphazardly written.
Verdict – Despite the ‘below standard’ acting by the female actors and a weak script, the film is worth watching for Ayushman Khurrana, Kunal Kapoor, certain comic scenes (not all), the ‘Nautanki’ essence and the soundtracks.
Director – Rohan Sippy
Producer – Ramesh Sippy & others
Stars – Ayushmann Khurrana, Pooja Salvi, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Evelyn Sharma
TNI Rating – *** (3) Stars out of 5.