Film: 'Vicky Donor'; Starring: Ayushmann Khurana, Yami Gautam, Anu Kapoor; Directed by: Shoojit Sircar; Rating: ****
When was the last time you saw a Bollywood comedy that made you chuckle and smile for two hours? When was the last time you saw a funny film that you wished wouldn't end? When the last time you saw a film where every actor in a big or small role simply sparkled on screen?
'Vicky Donor' is original and thoroughly engaging. It makes you feel blessed and blissed.
How good it feels to watch a director pick up a pertinent issue and convert it into a perky precocious and endearing rom-com which is less rom and, ahem, a whole lot of cum. Indeed 'Vicky Donor' is suffused with delectable plus points, not the least of them being debutant Ayushmann Khurana who seems to be born to play Vicky the...er donor.
Ayushmann-God bless his spontaneity-has formidable competition in the acting department from Kamlesh Gill and Dolly Ahluwalia who play his grandmom and mom, and from the redoubtable Anu Kapoor who as the sperm doctor, adds so much to his role and to the film you wonder why he isn't seen more often in our films.
Each character is written with a keenness for details that go a long way in giving them a life beyond the camera.
Delhi, done to death in film after film, re-awakens in 'Vicky Donor'. Kamaljeet Negi's cinematography makes no overt attempt to explore the city through the topography. Sircar's splendid direction takes us into the heart of Delhi. The people, their homes and specially their spoken language come alive in ways that cinema has ceased to offer in recent times.
I'd give the film the thumbs-up for the sheer exuberance joy and conversational authenticity expressed in the spoken words. Writer Juhi Chaturvedi is a prized find.
And cherish this film's ability to turn the subject of sperm donation into a joyous celebration of life. There are no dull moments in the narration. No character walks by in Sircar's Delhi just for the heck of it. There are no incidental characters. Even the guy on the road who calls out the leading lady's name on Vicky's behalf is there because he belongs to the film's perfect-fitted jigsaw design depicting domesticity and adversity in the competitive city.
Never in living memory have I seen a film where every character comes alive as an individual. If Dr Malpani(Anu Kapoor) is quite a character, so is his assistant Chaman(Bupesh Pandya) and his nurse Lata(K.V Rajni). If Ayushman's Vicky is a scenestealer, so is his romantic lead, the lovely Yami Gautam who as an independent working girl from a Bengali family brings a disarming grace to her character.
'Vicky Donor' is a precious and important work of art. It negotiates an unusual theme with the least amount of fuss and the maximum warmth and vigour. The scenes are woven with seamless serenity into one another. Like life, the film is not only about laughter. The heartbreaking moment where Ayushmann holds his sleeping mother's hand defines the undercurrent of somberness that life in Delhi constantly secretes.
Scratch the surface, and the pain under the bravura display of flamboyance and gaiety comes to the surface.
'Vicky Donor' gets that urbane mix of the light-hearted jaunty mood at the top and the agony beneath, with pitch-perfect accuracy. The very act of attempting a film on a sticky subject like sperm donation suggests a dry staccato treatment. Pulling away from the pitfalls of pontification and self-importance, 'Vicky Donor' simply takes us on a carefree joyride where the blend of pain and pleasure is never forced into the narrative. It just happens.
In a film industry saturated with slapstick double-meaning comedy, Shoojit Sircar has conceived a comedy on sex which is a not a sex comedy. No small achievement this.
Large-hearted and generously endowed with moments that you take away with you from the film even as John Abraham comes on screen for an irrelevant song and dance item, 'Vicky Donor' is the surprise entertainer of the year. It is the warmest, funniest most sensible and sparkling comedy in a very long time. In Shoojit Sircar's vision every single actor shines with a glorious naturalness. Ayushmann is effortlessly the discovery of the year.
As for the film, in Anu Kapoor words, there are impatient sperms, angry sperms, stupid sperms. Seen in those terms this film is quite a fertile piece of work which says a lot more about life than we expect from it.
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