Dir.  Luv Ranjan. India. 2011.

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A fresh faced star cast and a fledgling director don’t always make for a joy ride at the cinemas but ‘Pyar Ka Panchnama’ just about manages to prove that dictum wrong. Luv Ranjan, credited with direction, story and screenplay makes a strong case against the nebulousness of women involved in relationships. In fact it’s the strongest we have seen so far.

For most cinegoers, this will appear to be a film that spills vitriol on womankind. The anger is there, the pain is evident. It’s possible Luv Ranjan is talking straight from his heart. He lays out the scenario quite  elaborately. Three bachelors living together contentedly in  their bachelor pad suddenly find themselves at sea when they fall in love. The story is not too dissimilar from ‘Dil Tho Bachcha Hai ji.” The major difference between the two films are the ages of their principal characters. Here the three men are shown to be in their twenties whereas in Madhur Bhandarkar’s film their ages range between thirty and forty. Both films are bitter-sweet comedic dramas but ‘Panchnama’ spews far more venom on womenfolk than what Bhandarkar’s film did. The bias is clear.

Rajat (Karthik) the softie finds himself falling in love with Neha (Nushrat) and he eventually moves out from the pad to a love-nest with her. Liquid (Divyendu) is the nerd among the trio. He wants to attract girls but ends up becoming a friend who gets used and abused. Tiwari (Raayo) is the coolest one. Calm and  seemingly centered he gets attracted to a woman who abhors the idea of commitment. She is out for a good time and prefers to have her cake and eat it too. She strings him along while see-sawing through a relationship with her so-called ex. The ill-matched pairs go though the pains of making their relationships work before coming to the ultimate realisation that Yin and Yang don’t  mix.

Luv Ranjan’s treatment is sharp and affected. T he three men here are the victims while their womenfolk are the abusers. The view-point is entertaining for starters but when taken along through a wafer thin plotline extended for two hours and more, it tends to get tedious. Thankfully the actors(male leads) are excellent and they pull at your interest right to the very end. Karthik who plays Rajat tenders a superbly nuanced monologue-diatribe against women  which stretches for more than five minutes and  holds you spellbound. His is a performance full of vulnerability and conviction. Divyendu plays the fall guy who women love to take advantage of and  then dump, to perfection while Raayo is so at ease in his character’s shoes that  it becomes impossible to split the two apart. The Women are also quite convincing
despite the one-dimensional characters they inhabit. This is an opinionated film and must be taken with a pinch of salt- as intended!

Rating:  * * ½

Johnson Thomas

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