Exclusive by Devansh Patel, Harrow Observer, UK.
We, the so called reviewers, have always criticised majority of small budget, foreign locale shot films for reasons best known to us only. But Straight comes as a cool breeze on a hot summer day because it’s refreshing to see homosexual relationships and straight relationships treated equally. This isn’t another one of those annoying gay rights movies, it just wants to have fun. Let me take you through a funny little film that really deserved more attention than it got.
The film smartly opens up with a very funny animated display of Kaki's (Ketaki Dave) long lost family scattered in different parts of the world. But in this long elastic Patel family, Pinu's (Vinay Pathak) parents are no more and it's his Kaka (Rasik Dave) and Kaki who bring him up only to see their little big Pinu who is the owner of London's best Indian restaurant, Gaylord, get happily married. And there lies the problem.. The first one arrives in the form of Payal. She rejects Pinu and he gets heart broken. Then comes another to-be bride of the groom who just wants to get out of the so called 'arranged marriage'. Pinu loses it all. But why him? Can't he find his perfect match? Is he confused? Is he a gay? Is he straight?
A simple soul at heart, Pinu has many complexes - a special one being that he is a virgin and has experienced no intimacy with a woman. To top that, his biggest fear is to be laughed at by people - an ever-repeating phenomenon with him. To help him get out of the mess is his trusted foster brother Rajat (Siddharth Makkar) who is a singer and makes his living by performing gigs in Convent Garden, pubs and restaurants and gay clubs. After returning back to London from a failed marriage, Pinu tries to join the jigsaw puzzle of his life. Enter the suave stand up comedian and a cook, Kamlesh (Anuj Chaudhary) and the extraordinarily gifted caricaturist with a smile to die for, Renu (Gul Panag). Both come to Gaylord looking for their individual jobs. While Kamlesh who wants to become a stand up comedian by profession lands up as a cook, Renu on the other hand lands up as a cashier with dreams of pursuing a profession of a cartoonist. Within days, Gaylord begins to transform and so does Pinu Patel. The virgin had what he always wished for – the best of friends in the form of Kamlesh and Renu. The road ahead looked all straight. But not for long. I leave the tedhi-medhi journey for you to discover.
I would again like to thank Uttam Gada for not going over the top. The ingenious dialogue occurs in quick, humorous spurts. The characters speak in a witty, candid, spontaneous style as the dialogue cleverly directs the story in unexpected ways. With amusing references it’s difficult not to like the film’s many quirks. How can you dislike a movie that has so much fun like the "fuzzy wuzzy was a bear...." rhyme? With all the melodramatic matrimony in the world, it's about time Bollywood gives us a break from it all. Straight has a lot of fun with its material, and we have a lot of fun watching it. Sitcom gags provide the comedy and contrived angst provides us the drama.
One might argue that Vinay Pathak kept the best role for himself, and why not? His commitment issues and his inability to fully communicate his feelings come into sharp focus in the film. Vinay's role offers a layered performance that grows as the film unfolds. It is a particularly remarkable achievement, one that hopefully will assist the actor in breaking out of the mould of being typecast, which many critics think that he is. Gul Panag is picture perfect and as brilliant as ever. She is like an plain white empty canvas. By the end of the film, you'll see her in more colours than just one – witty, smart, sexy and poised. The other lead actors, Anuj Chaudhary and Siddharth Makkar are relatively unknown, yet they’re strong across the board. They're impressive, strikes a strong chemistry with Pinu Patel's character and are charming and funny. Not to forget, Ketaki Dave too brings in her gujju style humour as an added ingredient to this yummy film.
A high five for director Parvati Balagopalan. She has indeed found out the pyaar ka superhit formula this time around. In her second offering, Paravati wisely utilizes her strong roster of supporting characters to create a striking balance. For me, she claims the centre stage.
Straight charmingly plays on the fact that once we learn about someone's likes and dislikes, once we learn what is important to them, those things take on a resonance of their own. It is things such as this in the film that keep it firmly anchored into a realm that anyone can identify with.
Take your run-of-the-mill romantic comedy with all its prerequisites, insert large portions of clever and entertaining banter and have it delivered by an impressive and colourful cast of performers, and you’d have Straight.
In a nutshell, the movie has enough energy and an entertaining, natural sense of humour to provide an enjoyable ride whether you're gay or straight.
Rating – 3 out of 5.