The number of movies in India that deserve to be seen but are ignored over ‘Bollywood’ make for such a long list that ‘underrated’ could be a genre in itself here. Rajat Kapoor’s 2008 black comedy, Mithya, is one such movie. Although it got the critical acclaim and a box office gross that actually matched the production cost of an, ahem, Tees Maar Khan song (which is more money than you can earn if you sell your soul, by the way), the awards completely ignored it, and dust is probably settling over its prints somewhere.
And that is one of the many reasons you should take the movie out of cold storage. The other reasons include – a fresh, twisted spin to an old idea; a cast of gifted actors relishing their lunacy (everyone from Naseeruddin Shah to Saurabh Shukla is here); some quirky writing (Kapoor and Shukla) that unfolds at a frenetic pace, and Neha Dhupia becoming the first hot actress to be found in ‘experimental’ cinema (found also in the context ‘not lost’. Okay, that was a bad one, sorry).
The story has been told before several times: a good, simple man identically resembles an evil, bast*rd one, and a switch happens when one of them dies. But it’s the treatment to the story that makes the film engaging – what if you get so caught up in the switch that you start forgetting who you are?
Mithya is the kind of movie where you laugh at the hapless man’s predicament, at the same time, thank your stars that it’s not happening to you, and pray that if at all it does happen, it happens to only your worst enemies. Literally meaning unreal – Mithya also gives a tribute to acting (or ‘make-believe’) by making the lead character, played by Ranvir Shorey, an actor. This could also be symbolic in a sense – but I may just be saying that to make this piece sound intelligent.
Watch the movie because it’s *actually* one of the most intelligent movies of the last decade, and for the heartbreaking, near-perfect portrayal by Shorey (who’s just not got the credit he deserves), of the man who’s lost control of his own destiny. And if nothing else, Neha Dhupia’s hotness may make it worth your time.
Starring: Ranvir Shorey, Neha Dhupia, Naseeruddin Shah
Written By: Rajat Kapoor and Saurabh Shukla
Directed By: Rajat Kapoor
Note: This recommendation did NOT appear in MTV Noise Factory, March 2011 issue since it had already been recommended by the previous columnist. Instead, the Yeh Saali Zindagi recco appeared, and the first two paras of both reccos appear similar for this reason.
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