Pappu Can’t Dance Saala review

Cast: Vinay Pathak, Neha Dhupia, Rajat Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Sanjay Mishra, Saurabh Shukla

Directed by Saurabh Shukla

Rating: * 1/2

Movies featuring odd couples have always connected with audiences. Rich girl and poor boy, society mistress and party crasher, Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson; it just works. Time and again, Bollywood has served us mismatched pairs whose conflicting personalities and personal eccentricities are exploited for humour. So here, the concept is presented in a new bottle. PCDS shows us how some differences can’t be creased out over time and yet, Pappu, who can do much less than promised in the title, can somehow fall in love with someone very unlike him.

For those unaware, Pappu is a pseudonym given to those considered utter nincompoops with a hint of condescension over the person’s inabilities. For people reading this review who have this name, I would sincerely apologize for breaking it down for the rest but then again, don’t kill the messenger. 

Our Pappu in question is Vidyadhar Acharya (Vinay Pathak), a Banarasi Babu who has chosen maximum city to maximize his career prospects. Like many others, he suffers Mumbai, becomes vaguely philosophical about his suffering and you’re scared that this would become another campy take on how immigrants perceive the city of dreams. Luckily, we’re spared to some extent as his sufferings become mildly believable and even have streaks of cleverly written moments.

Vidya’s tryst with fate gets uglier when his bitter and beautiful neighbour Mehak Malvade (Neha Dhupia) forces herself into his life as his bitter and beautiful roommate. A dancer by profession, Mehek is brash on toast and always has it her way. Predictably Vidya and Mehak have a series of cute and some annoying disagreements. And while you’ve figured where this story is being led to, mercifully it strays clear from most clichés apart from the moral gyaan dispensed generously by Vidya.
Vinay Pathak has been typecast in the six-seven movies he’s featured in this year. It’s funny when people say that he adds up as the perfect ‘common man’. That would be true if the common man was a world-weary, self-righteous, blabbermouth who was also moralistic and preachy. These attributes may be collectively true for some but can it really be considered as the national average?

Neha is sizzling and likable for the simple reason that her character doesn’t try to balance her mini skirt with ‘sanskar’ and values to justify her stand. Only complaint: the music video in the movie that is scorned for its vulgarity is not even mildly that. Not saying that it should’ve been but you know what I mean.

This isn’t Saurabh Shukla’s debut as a director or a writer although most would remember him as ‘Kallu mama’, his cult screen role in ‘Satya’. But yes, he does add certain flourishes to his rather predictable screenplay. The music of the film isn't worth expensive multiplex tickets, yet the background score is occasionally quirky.

Very different people may have nothing in common apart from the fact that they’re both, well, people. And sometimes that is enough for a love story to happen.

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