An inspiration that gone wrong in over ambition? Talented actor Harsh Chayya’s stint as director is well intended but not well executed.
As the movie begins, an undeniable déjà vu of Rajesh Mapuskar helmed Marathi movie VENTILATOR produced by Priyanka Chopra haunts continuously. Harsh Chayya’s KHAJOOR PE ATKE shares the same heart beat. A family assembles in a hospital where a relative is in a coma.
Devinder Sharma, younger brother of Jeetendra (Manoj Pahwa) lands in coma in Mumbai. Jeetendra receives the call late at night and decides to pay double for air tickets and takes his entire family to Mumbai. Jeetendra’s wife Sushila (Seema Phawa) doesn’t approve but she stumbles to his husbands demands. But if you are thinking that Devinder is lucky to have a caring family, you are mistaken. The family is dysfunctional. Younger brother Ravinder (Vinay Pathak) is that example of ‘practical’ thinking guy who calculates every move. Ravinder joins but alone after safeguarding his awaited ‘deal’ and ensuring the best available package to fly Mumbai. Devinder shows no improvement, Devinder’s wife Kadhambhari (Alka Amin) is in unsound state of mind and keeps on binging. Days are passing by with no sign of improvement, the family now gets eager for the ‘result’ as Devinder is now kept under ventilator.
In the Marathi film, the family gets united and wants to speed up the process due to the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi and wants no sad news during the auspicious occasion. In VENTILATOR the family comes together in the end and it takes an emotional turn. While in KHAJOOR PE ATKE, the portrayal of the family is comparatively realistic and not over the top. The family over here is seeking an opportunity.
Jeetendra and Rajinder are eager to know about the property, sister Lalita (Dolly Ahluwalia) wants to promote her spiritual guru. Nayantara (Sanah Kapoor) Jeetendra’s daughter explores her wish to be an actress in Mumbai, while the younger lot like her brothers and cousins take time out for some fun. They wrongly select the city as a hot spot for fun and girls landing in trouble. But sadly, the whole khichdi is flat and the required tadka of quirkiness in these attempted quirky dark feature shot as a television serial is missing. The best part is between Manoj and Seema. The scene where Manoj asks his constantly nagging wife to pull all the plugs of his brother is fantastic. Rest, the movie searches for quirky situations but fails to fulfill. The director himself appears in a scene to add a sly moment but it fails to leave the desired impact. Manoj, Seema and Vinay give their best while it was disappointing to see Dolly Ahulwalia overact. The youngsters zest for a fling and the track involving Nayantara and TIME PASS fame Prathamesh Parab is that demon that eats all the little goodness of this movie.
Harsh Chayya may have tried to please all in his first attempt but manages some moments and fine performances, the movie which stars as a quirky, dark comedy ends up as a mishmash of everything and fails to get that emotional connect.