Banners: S.O.I.E., Welcome
Producers: Welcome Friends
Productions, Amrit Sethia
Director: Harsh Chhaya
Cast: Manoj Pahwa, Vinay Pathak, Dolly
Ahluwalia, Seema Pahwa, Alka Amin,
Sanah Kapoor, Suneeta Sengupta,
Writer: Harsh Chhaya
Music: Bickram Ghosh
In his directorial debut Khajoor Pe Atke, Harsh Chhaya brings together an ensemble of talented actors in a humorous and emotional story of the Sharma family. The premise of the film and the way it has been written reminds you of the successful Marathi movie Ventilator.
When news of Devendar being seriously ill reaches his siblings, Jeetendar, Ravindar and Lalita, all of them decide to come to Mumbai, their families in tow. But Devendar’s wife is not quite ready to deal with the sudden influx of these uninvited guests. Things take a turn to nowhere, when Devendar’s health remains in limbo, neither improving nor deteriorating. The constant waiting for something to happen along with an unresolved property dispute among the brothers, leads to hilarious and sometimes emotional situations and, of course, a lot of chaos.
The story is simple and takes place almost entirely inside the hospital. From discussing family issues, to work issues, to even marriage proposals, everything unfolds inside the hospital. Harsh Chhaya has done a good job in his directorial debut. The dialogue does bring in the laughs but it is the actors who take it up several notches. There are some sub-plots that seem a little unnecessary, like that of a small-town girl wanting to be an actress and how desperate small-town boys are to meet city girls. These are very clichéd portrayals. There are some places where the scenes seem a little stretched and the dialogue a little long, thus making the run time a tad tedious even at a little under two hours.
The film brings many talented people together under one roof for a simple drama that definitely touches your heart. It is a smooth ride for the audience and kudos to writer-director Harsh Chhaya for dishing out this treat.
The songs in the film do not hinder the narrative. The lyrics are funny yet emotional, and echo the sentiment expressed in the situations. The overall look of the film matches that of a middle-class family, and full marks to the team for maintaining that authenticity.
Performance-wise, Manoj Pahwa as Jeetendar and Seema Pahwa as his wife Sushila are a treat to watch. This real-life couple complements each other’s comic timing and energy with amazing dialogue delivery and screen presence. Vinay Pathak as Ravindar and Suneeta Sengupta as his wife Anuradha are good. Pathak’s scenes with Manoj Pahwa are so good that they look credible as brothers. Alka Amin as Kadambari, the mourning wife of Devendar, plays her part well. Her constant eating as she tries to come to terms with her husband’s health is poignant. Dolly Ahluwalia, as Lalita the over-the-top sister who creates an emotional scene every time she appears on screen is decent in her part. Vicky Arora as Devendar’s son Alok is okay. The rest of the cast does justice and supports the narrative.
Verdict: Worth watching!