It’s the other film this week Click that’s meant to be a horror flick. But Toh Baat Pakki is a bigger horror than anything this week, or in any recent weekTo think that the divine Tabu stars in it makes the blood boil.
On paper the idea of playing the busybody housewife Rajeshwari who seems to have only one mission in life, namely to see her sister (newcomer Yuvika) married off, must have sounded like an exciting new character to explore for the brilliant actress.
Alas, Tabu had not bargained for the mundane situations and the pedestrian dialogues that her character is put into.
Baat Pakki is one of those tragic comedies that don’t elicit a hint of humour. If Basu Chatterjee lost the plot, he would probably have turned up with this listless ode to the middle-of-the-road movies of the 1970s.
This middle-of-the-roader gets stranded in the middle of nowhere. The plot is intrinsically bereft of ingenuity. The direction is plodding and strained most of the way
Among the many problems that plague the plot is the lack of inherent drama in Tabu’s character. Her character has no inner life, no motivating emotions except hatching silly match-making schemes for her giddy-headed sister to tie the knot.She first invites Sharman into her home as a tenant. Then Vatsal. Before a third tenant gets the suitor’s suite we make a quick exit out of the theatre.
Tabu plays the interesting-on-paper dreadful-in-execution housewife as part-schemer, part-dreamer but entirely annoying and avoidable.
Unlike the shrew that Sridevi played with full-blooded passion in Judaai Tabu’s Rajeshwari is a woman caught in annoying confusions of self-assertion. And she’s not to blame. What do you do with a narration that has been shot on the sets erected in Ooty for Raj Kumar Santoshi’s Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani?
The lingering condition of a hangover mixed with yesterday’s leftovers stays with the film right till the bustling conclusion when all of Rajeshwari’s match-making manipulation come to fatuous fruition.
Toh Baat Pakki tries hard to be charming and quaint. It lacks that lightness of weight that would have made the characters appear larger than life in an unstrained, unstained atmosphere.
A pity, since the ethereal Tabu is hardly seen in any film. She tries bravely to get out of her dramatic space to deliver a broad satirical performance that screams for behind-the-scenes fine-tuning. She gets no support from her co-stars except maybe Ayub Khan who as her supportive husband plays a thankless part with warmth.
Sharman Joshi as Tabu’s sister’s first suitor has done the goofy act lately in 3 Idiots. Here he has nothing new or appealing to add to his uninspired character.
Vatsal Seth as suitor no. 2 gives his clean-cut good-boy role a genial treatment. The second -half when Sharman pretending to be the bride-to-be’s well-wisher tries to influence Vatsal against the marital alliance is suspiciously similar to Yash Chopra’s Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai.
That at least had some derivative energy to sustain its silly romantic movement. Toh Baat Pakki is as inert at its centre as a clock that stopped ticking while you were sleeping.