The 'Boys' are back, the collective genius of our very own Ben Stiller (Meet The Parents, Zoolander, Night At The Museum etc.), Owen Wilson (Shanghai Noon, Knights, Starsky and Hutch, Marley and Me etc.) Will Farrell (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers etc.) and more recently the Seth Rogen (Knocked Up) and Judd Apatow (40 Year Old Virgin, Superbad, Drillbit Taylor etc.) - actor, writer, director, producer teams who choose to work together creating independent material themselves and passing on the respective hats to each other from project to project with the pure intention of creating entertaining, thought provoking, relevant and at times just mad movies.
Yes, they are back indeed and have become Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey and Saurabh Shukla and have created a great niche market for themselves with their earlier combined efforts, be it Bheja Fry, Dasvidaniya, Raghu Romeo etc., which will continue to attract prospective investors to their interesting, supposedly out of the box and most importantly reasonably budgeted efforts. Raat Gayi Baat Gayi (RGBG), is their latest collaboration with Shukla directing, Kapoor playing the lead, Pathak supporting and Shorey turning in an Australian cameo “mate”! RGBG has been long time coming because I heard it was going to be one of the big tickets of 2008, but due to whatever reasons it’s finally here and that too at the brink of 2010. So let us brush aside The Hangover tagline of “What the hell happened last night ?” and get to the bottom of the night that was better forgotten.
RGBG is at heart a romantic film dealing with long standing relationships putting in the effort to sustain themselves, but trying very hard to be a full blown comedy, which the aforementioned names have usually been associated with. That is where the biggest problem lies with the making/marketing of the film. You go in expecting a zany comedy about one night stands and confusing moments of pleasure, but it turns out to be another take on men being from the red planet and women from the brightest star. With the thought "men are dogs", being revisited yet again, women never being satisfied thereby always having issues being mentioned off hand, one night stands owing to alcoholic intoxications being alright and eventually stagnation of relationships make this film somewhat stagnate because the path the writers tread to explore the above themes are just not novel enough. It also ends up making the proceedings terribly slow with long drawn scenes with not much happening(the not so happening party cut backs), lines which don't add much to the proceedings("Main apne boyfriend ke saath aayi hoon", "Arey main toh apni biwi ke saath aaya hoon"), odd situations not being as odd as they are made out to be (the landlord/boyfriend/father arrival) and finally the missing piece of the massive one night stand being quite a downer (not to be revealed at any cost!). At the end you are left with a feeling of not being enlightened too much about relationships and also not having been taken for the wild ride one could and should have gone for.
The performances do try to salvage the situation but do not go all out to engage the viewer. Rajat Kapoor as the supposedly philandering husband is his usual classy self and does do his best to bring across the angst of not remembering the night gone by. Iravati Harshe as his almost estranged wife trying to make her own life work remains pretty stone faced only coming into her own in the last few scenes. Vinay Pathak as the best friend dealing with his own failing marriage does have some almost brilliant moments and does get the best lines of the film, but his absence for the most part of the second half does make one wonder. Anu 'Lola Kutty' Menon screams her way through her husband's cyber sex woes, but does get the moment of the film to redeem herself (the waiter from nainital...). Dalip Tahil as the star writer with the bad latest book and the man with a secret does a Dalip Tahil as only Dalip Tahil can. Navneet 'Tara' Nishaan(with the numerologically altered name) is seen after an eternity in Hindo films and plays the loud, gossippy, at times obnoxious wife pretty well, but again does not have much to do. Ranvir Shorey has his Australian moments under the sun in his two scene part mate and Aamir Bashir turns in an earnest turn as the thinking man's painter/ lost lover. But all the above mentioned actors are burdened by half heartedly written roles which don't get to tug at any heart strings no matter what they go through. Oh, there is Neha Dhupia as well, the lonely seductress/muse/tenant/landlord/root of all evil looking quite hot and definitely making the one night stand seem realistic and saving the men from just being mere dogs, but also lovers of the gorgeous. She has atleast found her place among this happening click of artists. Yes, there is also Makrand Deshpande, but you have to see him for yourself.
The music is minimal but not bad, couple of good tracks by the new family band led by Ankur Tewari do flow in, the film has been simply shot, looking a bit jaded, but finally RGBG is not what it could have been, it's quite dragging, seems longer than it is, is not as wild as one would hope for, does not leave one with a feeling of having experienced something 'interesting' (an oft repeated word in the film) and is definitely not the "one night stand to end any other", but itself. Audiences and I will look forward to more and surely better fare from the 'Boys' next time round. Until then cheers to another night, another incident, another experience, and also to the new year!