Marathi film Lochya Zaala Re is lukewarm comedy

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Siddharth Jadhav, Vaidehi Parashurami, Ankush Chaudhari and Sayaji Shinde in Lochya Zaala Re. Photo: Trailer Video Grab 

As the Marathi film industry grows in economic stature, shootings abroad will naturally be a part of this growth. Birmingham in UK is the stunningly picturesque location where Lochya Zaala Re (which should have been spelt Lochya Zhala Re) is based and shot.

The plot is taken from Suresh Jairam’s Marathi play Pati Sagle Uchapati, on which Rohit Shetty’s 2009 evergreen comedy All The Best was broadly based, with a minor element coming in from Shetty’s 2012 Bol Bachchan. The Marathi play, in turn, was based on the 1999 British farce Right Bed Wrong Husband written by Neil Schaffner and Caroline Shaffner.

Manav (Siddharth Jadhav) and Dimple (Vaidehi Parashurami) are going to celebrate their wedding anniversary. So they leave their infant son with Dimple’s father (Vinay Patkar) who abhors Manav and eagerly waits for Dimple to divorce him and marry someone else! There is no valid reason for his animosity, however.

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Meanwhile, Manav’s best buddy Adi (Ankush Chaudhari) lives off the king-size allowance given every month to him by his Satara (in Maharashtra)-based tycoon uncle, respectively called Kaka or paternal uncle (Sayaji Shinde). He has even provided the huge mansion in which he lives, as per “filmi” trends, sans a single servant or maid, all of whom could have interfered with the plotline!

The shrewd Adi has already got his dole doubled by pretending to be married to Pooja, whose face he never shows to Kaka on video calls under the pretext that she is angry that Kaka never attended their marriage!

Manav and Dimple decide to spend their big day in Adi’s mansion and company, but trouble looms when Kaka, en route to a conference, gets a 7-hour flight stopover in Birmingham on that very day. Adi arranges that neighbor Sandy’s wife Ruby (Resham Tipnis) pretend to be his wife Pooja, but uncle first encounters Dimple and is delighted by Adi’s choice.

For the rest of the day, Adi emotionally blackmails Manav into letting Dimple pose as his wife and stay away from her real husband. As the complications spiral (Manav has to pretend he is Adi’s servant!), Ruby too turns up as Pooja. And then uncle’s stay gets extended by a full 12 hours.

Inspired subjects need to find original slants and the denouement of this film is way different and more sentimental vis-à-vis All The Best. However, the total presentation is very stagey, complete with the dialogues that make one feel we are in a farcical comic play (which the original was)! For me, that removes a considerable chunk out of a cinematic experience circa 2022. Farces have their place, but not in film comedies in these times. Purely my opinion, of course.

The breezy and by-now familiar humor and crisp length (minus 2 hours) keeps things going, though there are loopholes galore and the comedy is at best lukewarm, unlike in the smartly written All The Best.

Siddharth Jadhav is in full form and Sayaji Shinde and he save the film from being a tepid damp squib. I loved the line voiced by Siddharth, “He looks like a villain in South Indian films!” to describe his first glimpse of Kaka, as Sayaji is a known villain in South Indian cinema!

Ankush Chaudhari is good only in parts, while Resham Tipnis gets one scene to showcase her skills, and is made to go over the top. Vinay Patkar, as Dimple’s father also gets limited scope but does well, while Vaidehi Parashurami is decent as Dimple. Prasad Khandekar (also one of the writers) is okay as Sandy.

The script and direction are both far from ambitious, and the last sequence rather cold (a comedy must end on a high) and even silly, but the film has presumably done well because of its gloss and general level of wholesome if not hilarious humor. As a one-time watch, it gets by.

Rating: *** (Just about)

Mumbai Movies Studios, Ideas The Entertainment Company & Abhinay Mumbai Production present Lochya Zaala Re (Marathi) Produced by: Paritosh Painter, Shantaram Manave, Naveen Chandra & Nitin Keni  Directed by: Paritosh Painter & Ravi Adhikari  Written by:Suresh Jairam, Paritosh Painter & Prasad Khandekar  Music: Chinar-Mahesh  Starring: Siddharth Jadhav, Ankush Chaudhari, Vaidehi Parashurami, Sayaji Shinde, Vinay Patkar, Prasad Khandekar & Resham Tipnis

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