The theme of a film within a film or a film based on the film industry has nothing new to offer. Farah Khan did that with great aplomb in OM SHANTI OM. Farah Khan did that in style in OM SHANTI OM. Zoya Akhtar's maiden venture, LUCK BY CHANCE failed to click with the audience despite garnering rave reviews. Sudhir Mishra's KHOYA KHOYA CHAND was a major disappointment. Even Umesh Shukla's DHOONDTE REH JAOGE proved to be a futile attempt. Now, the director of GODMOTHER, Vinay Shukla tires his hands at making a film inside a film with MIRCH.
Based on a story on Panchatantra, the film has an ensemble cast of Konkona Sen Sharma, Raima Sen, Boman Irani, Shreyas Talpade, Arunoday Singh, Shahana Goswami, Rajpal yadav, Sushant Singh, Ila Arun, Pitobash and Prem Chopra. It's also Vinay Shukla's comeback film after a disastrous KOI MERE DIL SE POOCHHE, which was way back in 2002.
Maanav (Arunoday Singh) is a struggling filmmaker, who doesn't find any takers for his script for two long years. His girlfriend Ruchi (Shahana Goswami), who's a film editor, arranges his meeting with Nitin (Sushant Singh), a film producer. But even Nitin doesn't find his script viable. So Manav narrates a different story to Nitin about Maya (Raima Sen), who gets away after being caught red handed on bed with another man (also played by Arunoday Singh), by her husband Kashi (Rajpal Yadav). Nitin loves the story and asks Maanav to come up with three more similar stories to complete the film. After a few days, Maanav narrates three more stories which star Konkona Sen Sharma, Raima Sen, Boman Irani, Shreyas Talpade, Arunoday Singh and Prem Chopra.
In the beginning of the film while discussing with Maanav, Nitin says, 'Formula filmon ka zamana gaya'. Justifying his character's statement, Vinay Shukla no doubt presents a hatke story. Out of the four stories included in Vinay Shukla's script, the first two (set in ancient times) are credible and smartly written. Even the twists in them are witty and palpable. They score on the humour quotient supported by shrewd dialogues. The three conditions laid by Arunoday Singh in the second story are fun to watch.
The film loses steam post interval when the other two (modern) stories are narrated. The justification given by Manjula (Raima) in the third story is hard to grasp. It even ends abruptly. The last story starring Boman Irani and Konkona Sen Sharma is the weakest, which is devoid of any engaging moments.
Although it touches upon women's sexuality, MIRCH is an ideal example of how to get through a tough situation using one's wit. All the stories are nattily amalgamated in the end. Vinay Shukla deftly handles the intimate scenes without a tinge of titillation or vulgarity. Monty Sharma's music fails to sizzle. Cinematography is excellent.
Arunoday Singh is decent. However, it's arduous to see him in three stories out of four. Also, he completely hams as the painter. Raima Sen is good in the two stories that she stars in. Konkona Sen Sharma delivers a respectable performance in the second story and an average one in the last. Sushant Singh is decent. Shreyas Talpade does a fair job in his three characters. Boman Irani fails to impress in his Sindhi act. Rajpal Yadav is fine. Shahana Goswami is outstanding. Ila Arun gets some best dialogues and is super. Prem Chopra acts well.
Some neat writing and fine execution makes MIRCH just about palatable. But it falls short of a satiating experience.