Raja Natwarlal is an upcoming Bollywood crime comedy film directed by Kunal Deshmukh and produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur under UTV Motion Pictures. The film features Emraan Hashmi in the title role, alongside Humaima Malik, Paresh Rawal and Kay Kay Menon. Yuvan Shankar Raja has composed music for the film. The film is expected to be released on 29 August 2014.
Raja Natwarlal: It is praiseworthy for an original con game played right till the end. !!
August 29 th, 2014
A caper film essentially has to do a couple of things such as it has to have some surprises, and it has to be fun. On neither of these counts ‘Raja Natwarlal’ comes up trumps.
Time and again one comes across movies that have first and the second half giving a sense of two different stories being told. Raja Natwarlal too is one such affair. What goes in its favour though is the fact that the second half, particularly the last 30-40 minutes, is really entertaining which helps the movie watching experience a great deal. Unexpectedly a tale that sounded very average to begin with becomes a lot more engaging, which well demonstrates the good hold that director Kunal Deshmukh has on his subject.
Raja (Emraan Hashmi) is a small-time card-sharp who wants to leap into bigger game. A plan to do just that goes horribly wrong, leaving him to plot the downfall of cricket-mad bad guy Vardha (Kay Kay Menon). Along comes unenthusiastic guru (Paresh Rawal) to hand out some pro-tips to our hero, and we know how this will end.
The middle is stuffed with tepid scenes featuring Raja’s girl (Humaima Mallick) who shakes her stuff in a dance-bar, the con artists getting together and flinging their net, and a couple of corrupt cops who want in on the action, and the planning of the sting.
The first half of the movie is not just painfully slow but also hardly anything but con. It alternates between a drama and an emotional affair with a highly apathetic love story thrown in. Neither the core plot of Emraan deciding to take revenge for the killing of his brother figure Deepak Tijori works, nor any of the sequences where he mindlessly throws wad of currency notes on his lady love Humaima Malick in a bar. In fact the highlight of the movie could well have been the sequences leading to joining hands of Emraan and Paresh Rawal.
Luckily, the interval point is good and this is where the film changes direction too. With the story now involving Kay Kay Menon as a much more key player, the plot starts thickening. The con game is captivatingly laid down and while at times you are required to get into the zone of suspension of disbelief, you don't mind that due to the requirement of genre. Also, though at times you do feel that Menon is being played rather effortlessly, the pace is kept so fast by Deshmukh that you go with the flow. Also, he doesn't dumb down Menon's character completely and does bring in some 'shakki' elements into play.
Overall, Raja Natwarlal is a satisfying affair finally as you root for Emraan, Paresh and their team the moment they decide to introduce Menon to the cricket officials. The meeting in the office, auction thereafter, the climax and the flashback that joins the dot in the con game is laid out well. Though the love story bit is still forced into the narrative, you ignore that for the other comic drama that ties the plot together.
In the whole play, Emraan and Paresh join hands well to bring on fun in the atmosphere. They play their respective parts well even though one does feel that their back stories could have carried more weight. Humaima looks pretty and does well in her space, though there is hardly any justification of her character inclusion. The man who plays senior cricket official (a Kumar Mangat lookalike) is very good in a meaty role. Kay Kay Menon holds the screen every time he appears on frame. Sumit Nijhawan plays the part of a cop very well and is suitably convincing in a grey role without going overboard. Deepak Tijori is engaging in a well written part.
The story travels from Mumbai to Dharamshala and Cape Town but director Kunal Deshmukh retains firm control. The tale packs in paisa, pyaar, confidence, over-confidence, chummas, chases, corrupt cops, cricket associations, surprises and some rather nice songs - but keeps its weight under control.
Raja Natwarlal may not be the best con movie to have emerged out of Bollywood due to its slow pace in the first half and an unnecessary love angle. But the fun element and fast pace in the second half more than makes up for it.
Overall, it is praiseworthy for an original con game played right till the end.