Jagan Deshmukh (Dilip Prabhvalkar) a highly respected elderly person, Sadanand Kulkarni (Hrishikesh Joshi) a respected school teacher and Arjun ( Aniket Vishwasrao) a hot tempered youngster are residents of Wadner village located in the district of Maharashtra. These people are living a peaceful life when the son in law to be of Jagan Deshmukh calls off the wedding with Jagan’s daughter. On the other hand Sadanand’s wife wants to file for a divorce and Arjun’s father in law to be (Uday Sabnis) refuses to let his daughter Kalpana (Pooja Sawant) get married to Arjun and thus these three people find their lives turned upside down all of a sudden. It soon turns out that the photos of these three men are accidentally printed on a Government ad promoting vasectomy and this has caused the turmoil in their lives and is responsible for them facing humiliation. Enraged by this, the three men set out to find the people responsible for this act and to set things right before it is too late.
Apparently based on a true incident which occurred in Maharashtra, Poshter Boyz tackles the subject of vasectomy, an issue concerned to be taboo in India and rarely discussed in public in our society. This is mainly due to the orthodox and often hypocritical approach of our society which is prevalent towards such issues. It is an interesting and rarely tackled subject, which is why it is commendable that debutant director Samir Patil chose this subject in his debut film.
However the sad truth is that the mediocre execution, which is rather loud in nature ruins a film having an interesting idea and had the potential to be a good film.
It often helps if movies that tackle social issues use humor as a means to deliver across the message through the film as it not only entertains the audiences but also helps in delivering the message to a larger audience. Poshter Boyz also adopts a similar approach. However the film ends up focusing more on the comic aspect more and makes half hearted attempts to address socially relevant issues. Had the comedy been genuinely funny one would not have minded the focus being more on the comic aspects, as people always don’t mind having a laugh or two at the cinemas. Barring a few scenes however, the comedy is loud, forced and fails to make you laugh. Almost all the characters appear as caricatures and one fails to empathise with their condition. The director however creates a good build up before the protagonists find their photos are plastered on a vasectomy ad.
How I wish I could empathise with Dilip Prabhawalkar’s character as he tries to fight the indifferent attitude shown by his son and his prospective son in law after they learn of Prabhwalkar’s photo printed on the vasectomy ad. How I wish I could empathise with Hrishikesh Joshi’s character as he tries to dissuade his wife from filing for divorce, fights with the government officials who have caused the havoc in his life. However, thanks to the poor characterization of the protagonists it is hard to empathise with any of them.
The film tries to tackle some genuine issues such as the indifference shown by Government servants towards common people, the chauvinism prevalent towards the men in our society, the hypocritical mentality of Indian society which takes offence at men undergoing vasectomy as men are seen as a superior gender compared to women amongst other issues. However all these issues are tackled with a halfhearted approach thereby failing to make any real impact whatsoever. If this isn’t enough the climax adopts an approach which is clichéd and ends up messing things further. In the end, it seems the makers suddenly realized they had to insert a social message or two to make it more appealing and try to awaken the audience who must have been killed by sheer boredom by now. Thus one key character delivers a relevant sermon about what makes for a true man. But it fails to make much of an impact. Oh and do watch out for some silly cameos by Farah Khan, Rohit Shetty, Annu Malik among others in the final hour of the film.
Till now the two films which I think had the worst product placements were Subhash Ghai’s Yaadein and Bullet in the Head starring Sylvester Stallone. The former was a three hour long advertisement in the guise of a film while the latter was an extended advertisement for Blackberry phones. Poshter Boyz can safely claim the third spot as far as poor product placements in films are concerned. Sample this Prabhwalkar goes to meet his son in law to be at his shop to know the latter’s reason of calling off the wedding with Prabhawalkar’s daughter. While the son in law to be makes Prabhawalkar deliberately wait, he explains to a customer twice why he should use ‘Birla Whitecare Putty’, the way one would explain in a TV commercial. Wonder why they didn’t put an actual commercial in the film instead of this, like it was done for Sansui TV in the cult classic ‘Jaani Dushman Ek Anokhi Kahaani’? It would have been much better.
Talking about the technical departments, Music director Leslie Lewis who debuts in Marathi cinema as a composer with this film does a passable job. The background music however is loud and quite annoying at times. The cinematography captures the rustic locales of Maharashtra fairly well.
One of the reasons, the film becomes watchable is due to the performances of Dilip Prabhawalkar and Hrishikesh Joshi. Cast as ordinary men dealing with an extraordinary situation, they manage to evoke a sense of empathy for their characters, despite being saddled with half baked and underwritten roles. Even when they are asked to engage in loud comedy and surrounded by co-actors who are by and large hamming in the film, these two actors underplay their parts quite well. I would like to make a special mention of Hrishikesh Joshi here. In all the films he has acted in recent times be it Yellow, Ajoba or Aajcha Diwas Mazha, Hrishikesh Joshi has never failed to make an impact as an actor, quality of the film notwithstanding. I hope he remains being consistent with his performances.
Aniket Vishwasrao gets the rustic accent and mannerisms right, however he overacts a lot in the process and ends up with a rather ineffectual performance. Pooja Sawant looks quite pretty but doesn’t have much to do apart from playing the mandatory love interest to Vishwasrao ‘s character. The rest of actors such as Neha Joshi who plays the nagging wife of Hrishikesh Joshi is also quite loud and fails to rise above a poorly written role. It seems most of the actors in the film seem to outdo each other with regards to the overacting they indulge in the film, be it Aniket Vishwasrao, Neha Joshi, Ashwini Kalsekar in a guest role amongst others.
There was so much potential to make this film into a good satire with a sufficient dose of humor addressing some relevant social issues. However thanks to the half hearted approach, mediocre execution and an abundance of loud humor and clichés, Poshter Boyz neither works as a comedy nor a social satire.
If you want to watch a good film that tackles a social issue well but also entertains in the process, please watch the underrated Marathi film of 2013 – Popat directed by Satish Rajwade that dealt with the topic of AIDS.