Sanjay Masoom
Screenplay Dialogue

Parveez Sheikh

Kunal Deshmukh

Film Review
Raja Natwarlal:Fails to CONnect


Not a CONcrete Job

FACT – So what’s cooking these days..
fact – Oh, this new dish from CONtinental Cuisine. Nicely dressed, very well presented but lacks that solid feel/fill you expect from a platter. When it is over, we realize that the chef played a trick on us and made us believe he is serving some out of the world stuff which turns out to be just another gimmick..

FACT – But CON films are about gimmicks.. aren’t they?
fact – But shouldn’t they be CONvincing? While watching we should not a get a feel that your CON worked because your are calling shots & cuts..it should come easy & yet surprise you..

FACT – You don’t think the CONNING worked..?
fact – Outside the film it did. Inside the film Hero cons Villain which can be CONtested; but outside whether Director cons Producer; Writer cons Director, whichever way, finally the con is on the audience. This film which was touted as “Bollywood’s Outstanding Con Caper” fails to even better the last year’s “Special Chhabbis”.

FACT – Ya, even Bluff-Master had a few brilliant sequences..
fact – Then Bunty & Bubli too. RACE the first part to some extent. This film also gives Special 26 Déjà vu especially when a large scale orchestrated con is executed. But overall Raja Natwarlal’s con neither we buy nor identify with.

Raja (Emraan) and his friend Raghav (Tijori) make their ends meet doing petty Con jobs. Raja loves to shower money on his bar dancer girlfriend Ziya (Humaima) and to outdo other filthy rich patrons he decides to go in for some big risky game, with this noble cause in mind. They chance upon a big bounty which unfortunately turns out to be of some goon-became-tycoon Varda Yadav (KayKay). Varda kills Raghav and this sets Raja in motion for revenge, who with help of Yogi (Rawal) decides to CON Varda to avenge his friend’s death. Yogi helps him because Varda is common enemy..Varda is cricket maniac and and they decide to use that weakness to Con him in a big way..

Well that’s a very poor wicket (read set-up) the Writers have decided to pitch the match on.. Mostly all deliveries in the beginning of the match (setup) go off the wickets..

  1. If Raja is so much in love with that girl can’t he anyway take her with him? Both can live a simple happy life if love is what they need. What is the big need for such big money doesn’t come out clearly. Conning other people just to shower money on your girl which is anyway going to bar owners comes as very unpalatable. Just give her that money instead and she will not need to dance in the bar; if that’s what you want. Raja’s benevolence is shown in one scene, just for sake of it, but same doesn’t come through as his character later. Ziya’s character has not been developed into any dimension.. Turns out that Raja lied to her about himself and she takes it too easy..
  2. If Raja fiddles with someone without doing his homework and that man turns out to be his Pop and kills his buddy, isn’t it his fault? Raja going all out to take revenge for this isn’t justified. Come on, if you kick a dog and he bites you back, you can’t blame the dog. This weak setup doesn’t put you through the protagonist to make him identifiable and what comes as a bigger surprise - He wants to Con the enemy for revenge of a murder. What kind of revenge is that? Conning for Murder.. ?
  3. The conning acts also come as convenient. This usually happens so in our films. Obstacles come when makers want and nothing when they don’t want. And worst is that whatever is coming up as an impending danger is all manipulated. Similarly Vards is able to find Raghav without any effort but can’t find Raja. He can notice slightest act of cheating with finesse but falls for the big one without CONsiderable thought. He knows all the biggies and has access to them, why can’t he cross check the identity of Mr. Shiraz Patel, the plant our Cons have placed in the AICC office? It’s like taking a long run up and delivering a short pitch ball..
  4. There is this new kind of narrative where the film makers CONceal some part of a certain track from the audience and in the end tell them that this was something different than what was impressed upon you. You see we are smart and were giving you manipulated information, so that we can surprise you in the end. So what was perceived as a threat will eventually be an opportunity. As an audience we feel short-changed here, if that wasn’t a real threat then why was it treated like one. As an audience were we got trapped into some fake hook?
  5. I also feel that film makers should do some research of Real Life online frauds and come out of this filmy way of treating things. There are better alternatives to the hackneyed and non-existent ways of transferring billions online by few key strokes.

 It all happens like a Bad One-Dayer which takes a very slow start in first 15 overs (setup) with some missed deliveries (read opportunities) in the middle overs (Second Act) and lot of mindless run chasing in the slog overs (read too much action, subplot, unnecessary backstories in the third act).

FACT – That too appears like a CONcocted Fixed Match in the end. Seems like modern age of tainted Sports..
fact – And tainted films. These days our films don’t consider the social impact. This film keeps glorifying CON as a profession. Usually women characters are seen as the voice of conscience but Ziya here is just a property. Mithilesh Kumar Srivastav aka the Great Natwarlal is paid tributes several times in the film for his eight decades of conning masses without any guilty feelings. Think about the poor or innocent victims who must have lost their life’s savings to Natwarlal or similar Cons..
Instead of giving in to our CONceit we can give some Human angle also to our Con stories...

Unfortunately the CON CONtinues; In the end when Ziya asks Raja what he will do next, Raja says he will find some other Varda and continue with his business as if this 100 Cr was not enough so he plans for another game as our film makers pave way for another 100 crore sequel..

   Sanjay Sharma


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