Director: Parvati Balgopalan
Cast: Vinay Pathak, Gul Panag, Anuj Choudhary, Sid Makkar
Storyline: A shy virgin man in his thirties begins to wonder if he’s gay after he has a dream involving his one of male employees.
Bottomline: A silly light-hearted romantic comedy
The romantic comedy genre, a staple of Hollywood’s assembly line productions, strangely here in India comes to us as multiplex fare, starring one of the finest actors arthouse cinema has given us.
So yes, there’s nothing even remotely arthouse about Parvati Balgopalan’s ‘Straight – Ek Tedhi Medhi Love Story.’ In fact, Straight plays it safer than even the mainstream films made with similar themes treating homophobia and sexual confusion with light-hearted political correctness.
It wears a multiplex film badge only because of the profile of the leading pair, so don’t walk in expecting another ‘Dasvidaniya’ or ‘Dor.’
As we have read from the previews, the only talking point of the film is that Vinay Pathak and Gul Panag get to make out. Everything else is an excuse to get to that point. So we have a few inspired adventures lined up before this as Pinu Patel (Vinay Pathak pretty much like ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’) tries to lose his virginity – one that involves him popping pills and getting admitted to the hospital with a tent and another with him setting off the fire alarms in the bathroom because his equipment fails to work.
Very few actors can pull off slapstick of this nature with an innocent endearing charm and Vinay Pathak gives this sex-laced romantic comedy the much needed human face, making the most bizarre situations seem believable.
But for a couple of songs right at the beginning of the film that try hard in generating sympathy of the lead character, the rest of the film breezes through with a some feel-good moments.
Especially, the one where his new male friend (Sid Makkar Anuj Choudhary) tells him to narrate his biggest tragedy like it happened to someone else and when the girl he likes (Gul Panag) observes that it is the imperfections that make us all real. But that’s the thing about cinema – unless the technical aspects and the writing is perfect, it doesn’t seem real.
Gul Panag plays the perfect foil to Vinay Pathak and their chemistry towards the end is heartwarming (and then, the cornball climax sets in). The guys Sid Makkar and Anuj Choudhary break a few stereotypes associated with gay people and the fact that we never find out if is Sid Anuj is gay or not makes it all the more interesting.
Straight surely had more potential than it realises but ends up watchable anyway with the leading man stringing together a few good laughs.
P.S: Thank God for blogs. Unlike print where the errors are preserved for posterity, here at least we get to set the record Straight. 🙂