By Sameer Wadekar, Bollywood Trade News Network
Seldom do we find a comedy that is entirely set around a rural background. Bollywood looks at the village to convey its misfortune and to reflect its misery in full measure. Some of them just go to the remotest village in search of a 'haunted' house to churn out some tried and tested snotty horror flicks. But MALAMAAL WEEKLY is a welcome exception to this cliche and tries to explore the rural community incisively. Yes, it's a comedy but not the usual cranky stuff but there is a whole lot of freshness to it and really helps you to get a glimpse into the township community with a healthy dose of fun 'n' frolic.
Priyadarshan has got acumen for slick comedies and he can do it with a lot of panache. Comedy is a serious business and this guy can do it with ease. He is sharp and deft in executing the comic situations and more importantly making the folks get absorbed into it. But so far he's been remaking all his Southern hits until MALAMAAL WEEKLY. This could just be his most original Hindi film till date. Plus so far he was inclined towards the slapstick mode of comedy, which a lot of times tilted towards exaggeration. Priyan has tried to refrain from that with MALAMAAL WEEKLY relying more on situational humor that appears more believable and piercing.
The story of MALAMAAL WEEKLY can be described in one simple line: The entire village greeding for the Malamaal lottery bumper prize and what ensues is a roller coaster ride of hilarious circumstances and funny situations that entertain you to no limits but also make you get introduced to the desolation and melancholy of the rural community. But at the same time this movie will not disappoint you by tossing up melodrama or that same rigid state of affairs that one is used to watching when it comes to a village movie. In fact the villagers here are not vulnerable or bumpkins as you might assume. They are illiterate but shrewd and in full swing when it comes to warding off the circumstances and they are smart enough to dabble the nastiest of situations. And this only adds to the fun and velocity of the movie that is surely gonna rock you all endlessly.
The principal cast of the movie is simply amazing. The comic talents of Paresh Rawal, Om Puri and Riteish Deshmukh come to the fore and they don't let you down! They carry themselves so effortlessly that they make things look easy as it can get! Asrani, Shakti Kapoor, Rasika Joshi and Sudha Chandran ably support them. Reemma Sen as the leading lady does a decent job while Arbaaz Khan, as a stand-in character is fine. Rajpal Yadav is his usual self and he needs to guard against his sometimes-loud acting manners. A special mention must be made of Riteish again as this chap is just getting better and better with each movie. Here he gets a role that allows him to be funny and sentimental jointly and he does his job with aplomb refusing to get over-shadowed with the 'giants' around him.
A comedy film needs good, hilarious and top-notch dialogues to perfect the camaraderie. Manisha Korde here has hit the deck and the dialogues are comical and witty. Some of the dialogues simply evoke the hearty laughs from the audience and the screenplay by Priyan himself compliments the proceedings. But the aspect, which stands out tall, is the art direction by Sabu Cyril. His work is pure genius considering the fact that the story takes place in a North Indian village, while the film has been shot in a tiny Southern township. The second facet is the cinematography by Sameer Arya, which is fascinating and so very important to a movie, which is fully established in a small village that is devoid of any extravagance of an urban milieu. However, the music of the film is a bit of a let-downer. Uttank Vorra has done a pretty placid job and the music just ends up being passable. However there are not too many songs to interrupt the flow and that's a solace. So it really doesn't prick you and you jell with the story with comfort.
All in all, a good and thoroughly enjoyable movie experience. You can surely by this lottery ticket and it will damn surely be a 'malamaal' affair you can't forget for along time!