Bole mere lips, I love Uncle Chips.. Remember this jingle during the 90's - MTV has made its entry in Indian households and the god by the name Michael Jackson toured Mumbai in the same decade - 1996. Certainly those who have 'stone washed' and 'tore' their jeans for the first time do remember.MANTRA MOVIE POSTERS
The premium Indian potato chips brand name Uncle Chips was on everybody's lips and MANTRA is inspired from Uncle Chips acquisition by top MNC story. 'King Chips' owned by Kapil Kapoor (Rajat Kapoor) gets acquired by a top MNC in this film.
Director Nicholas Kharkongor MANTRA could have been an intelligent film commenting on the post-liberalization years but it's a mish mash of family drama in the brand trauma of getting lost in the package of the MNC giant.
Praiseworthy for being a crowd funded effort and noteworthy for a near flawless act by Rajat Kapoor and brilliantly 'chip' ped in for some valuable support from Kalki Koechlin, MANTRA holds in its anecdotes of how Kapil struggles to save his brand against the giant but is flawed in adding tones and layers to the disjointed family of Kapil.
It's said to be circa 2004 and Kapil Kapoor proprietor of King Chips is fighting a losing battle with an MNC to save his company. His eldest son Viraj (Shiv Pandit - very good) is in restaurant business and younger daughter Pia (Kalki Koechlin) has come back from foreign and is desperately looking for some space. His youngest Vir (Rohan Joshi - fine) is head over heels in a virtual affair with married woman with kids. To make matter worse Kapil's relationship with his wife Lushin Dubey is shaky.
It's hard to relate to a failure on the work, home and personal front for the audience in a film and Kapil's character is a failure on all fronts. His company is going bankrupt but he happily roams in a BMW. The essential sub plots like molestation and on line adventures in the name of relationship/friendship are weak.
Like Kapil's brand and his family, the movPhillauri interview ie too falls apart failing to register though it had moments like the one when Kapil is high on smokes and when a local vendor refuses to offer Kapil's brand of chips to a young consumer and Kapil coming in for rescue and doing the needful. Hope such moments where more in MANTRA to make it more watchable if not memorable.