I love the kind of movies that you come out of and tell all your friends about the first chance you get. The kind that doesn’t end for you as soon as the lights are switched back on in the theatre. The kind that stays with you somewhere days after you’ve watched it. Amit Masurkar‘s Sulemani Keeda, starring Naveen Kasturia, Mayank Tewari, Aditi Vasudev, is one such gem.
The film tells the story of of two struggling screenwriters, Mainak and Dulal who are seeking a break in Bollywood as scriptwriters. Shown the door by everyone from Mahesh Bhatt to Amrita Rao and Anil Sharma (delightful cameos by all!), they’re directed to Gonzo – “European films”-loving son of a leading Bollywood producer, to write his launchpad film that needs to be ”out of the box.” Meanwhile, Dulal meets lawyer turned photographer Ruma, who Dulal falls in love with because she inspires the introverted Dulal to go out there and achieve what he wants to, despite the risks.
A fairly uncomplicated plot, Sulemani Keeda wins in its execution. All the characters of the film are easily recognizable. If you’re not one of them, you’ve seen them hanging around on the next table from you at a cafe in Andheri struggling to crack Bollywood without wanting to be a sell out. Naveen, Mayank and (especially) Aditi breathe life into their characters. The portrayal of friendship between grown men is positively refreshing as even though “main tere liye jaan de dunga, dost” may not hold true, but the fact remains that there’s nothing that can’t be solved over a glass of Old Monk in the balcony.
Dulal and Ruma’s scenes together are heartwarming. More so, because it’s so relatable in the sense that all attractions may or may not end in epic romances, Bollywood style. I really hope Aditi gets roles that help her prove her strength as an actress even more. The quality of acting talent can be judged by the single scene when Mainak and Dulal are in one of their writing sessions which is shot in black and white and has not one dialogue – brilliant! Also, Karan Mirchandani as Gonzo is super convincing and amusing. My favourite part is the animated bit that involved cocaine snorting. And the use of still images in songs… amazing!
And that’s the thing about this movie, it’s about us!
It’s about us when 15 of us partied at a friend’s rented 1BHK, it’s about us when we went to open mic nights with the hope of meeting interesting people. It’s about us when we drunk talked about life as we knew it with our roommate, it’s about us when we shopped from Colaba for the things we needed to move to the USA. It’s about us when we walked around alone to put things in perspective, it’s about us when we kept that paper flamingo our date made us in an arbid cafe, it’s about us when we woke up in the wee hours of the morning for an uninteresting activity just to be with our crush, it’s about us when we drank in cheap bars.
Most importantly, it’s about us when we let money get the better of us and sold out, it’s about us when we didn’t.
Sulemani Keeda is the kind of film you’d like to make – a film with way too many inside jokes that are broad enough to welcome an audience into and assuring them that they’re going to have a great time!
If you’re watching one movie this week, do yourself a favour and watch this one.