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Puaada-A Silly If Inoffensive Punjabi Romcom
Starring: Ammy Virk, Sonam Bajwa
Directed by Rupinder Chahal
It’s all Virk and no play in Puaada. The amiable Ammy Virk has a certain natural charm about him. Like Diljit Dosanjh he doesn’t try too hard. His comic timing is fairly effortless. And when he dances, like he does in his ladylove’s college while the entire campus turns into an impromptu chorus accompaniment (very 1990s Hai huku David Dhawan), Amy dances without caring about the camera.
The camera is not the only component that seems to have been disregarded by this amateurish comedy. Puaada moves to a very basic comic rhythm. It has no pretensions of any sophistication, with jokes flowing like uncapped toothpaste. Many, like this critic, found the ongoing jibes about the untutored mild-dairy owner (dus-wa fail) and his blind love for the well-to-do girl-‘vexed’-door Rounak (Sonam Bajwa), to be highly obnoxious and toxic.
The jokes about the ‘anpadh’ doodhwala get hard to bear after a point. Where is the dignity in deriding the dignity of labor? So what if the hero sells milk? He owns a big farm, a huge vehicle, loving parents and lots of unvarnished charm.
When the assemblage of stymied screenwriters (there are 4 of them) begin to seriously run out ideas the one-note screenplay plunges to half a note, with a couple of terrorists “bagal se” barging into Jaggi’s home.
(Incidentally the hero in this week’s other release Shiddat is also named Jaggi, but then there are Jaggis and Jaggis).
From there onwards the plot goes so deep into the cowbell I could hear the cows mooing, and defecating. Bhai main toh dung reh gaya. Really how far can a writer-director go in pursuit of some laughs? Puaada doesn’t get far with the farce. The jokes run out of steam and eventually we are looking at a film as humorous as two street dogs barking in mating passion.
Where is the humor in pairing up the couple with a couple of anti-socials, particularly since the anti-socials look like they’ve seen better days. So has Punjabi cinema. We’ve had some beautiful films coming out of the State in the past such as Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh and Qissa.
I am afraid a semi-tacky comedy like Puaada does nothing to the cause of Punjabi cinema. Agreed it is freed of vulgarity. There are no double meaning dialogues. Forget double, the dialogues have no meaning when they go, “Does your daughter know how to cook or is she going to cook her books and serve them to us?”
This, from a future mother-in-law to the heroine’s parents. I rest my case.
Punjabi cinema needs to grow up.