I am not much of a movie buff and certainly no fan of Bollywood. And yet I found myself at a theatre yesterday watching the newly released Ferrai Ki Sawari produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. It struck me as low-budget film: just two actors, Sherman Joshi and Boman Irani, and no actress (except for a guess appearance by Vidya Balan). No expensive locations or sets either.
I watched the film with some disbelief. I could not have imagined that, in this day and age, Bollywood was capable of producing such trash. The story is about a Parsi father (Joshi) trying to get his small son a break in cricket by enrolling for a training programme at Lord's. A lady promises him the fee for the programme if he can arrange to get Sachin Tendulkar's Ferrari for the wedding of the son of a municipal corporator. Joshi manages the feat in ways that would be credible only in Bollywood. He manages to have the Ferrari returned again in ways that would be plausible only to those mentally challenged.
Joshi plays the doting father. He seems to make the mistake of confusing simplicity or straightforwardness with appearing moronic- you can be straightforward without wearing an asinine smile all the time or rolling your eyes. Irani is his gifted self as a grandfather who never quite got the chance he deserved as a cricketer in his time. The politician/municipal corporator and his imbecilic son are horrors that only Bollywood can produce. The child artiste is the redeeming feature.
If there is a message in the movie- and it would take some effort to extract any from this movie- it is that politicians rank at the bottom in the esteem of the public. Bollywood, with its appalling stereotypes, is itself responsible for the complete lack of respect today not only for politicians but, alas, for the democratic process itself.