Fryday Review

Govinda-starrer “FryDay,” imaginatively titled since everything happens on a Friday and the three protagonists almost get metaphorically fried, is a surprise, and a decent one at that. (photo provided)

Inbox Pictures & PVR Pictures present “Fryday”

Produced by: Sajid Qureshi

Directed by: Abhishek Dogra

Written by: Rajeev Kaul, Manu Rishi Chadha & Meghvrat Singh Gurjar

Music: Ankit Tiwari, Milind Gaba & Gunwant Sen

Starring: Govinda, Varun Sharma, Prabhleen Sandhu, Digangana Suryavanshi, Sanjay Mishra, Rajesh Sharma, Brijendra Kala, Ishtiyak Khan, Manoj Bakshi,

Bachan Pachehra, Shivani Rai, Atul Mathur, Meghvrat Singh, Manju Sharma, Swati Kaushik, Madhur Mohan Sharma, and others

When Govinda comes in, of late, we have trepidations that the film will be worse than very bad! But “FryDay,” imaginatively titled since everything happens on a Friday and the three protagonists almost get metaphorically fried, is a surprise, and a decent one at that.

A light, slightly retro-flavored comedy that is clean (overlooking a couple of tiny hiccups), despite the extramarital base, has a dollop of emotions in the end, and a post-climax with a twist (will we get a sequel?) is welcome indeed. It is also the right vehicle indeed for the actor who has been trying to get back into the reckoning for long.

“FryDay” is the story of stage actor Gagan Kapoor (Govinda), whose social worker wife Bela (Prabhleen Sandhu) has little time for him. Bindu (Digangana Suryavanshi) is a fan, and they gradually come close. Bindu is herself married to an unprepossessing police officer (Rajesh Sharma) who laughs too much. It is an arranged marriage, and she is not happy at all.

On a parallel track runs the tale of poor (as in ill-fated) Rajiv Chhabra (Varun Sharma), who is a water purifier salesman. So bad is he at his job that his boss (Manoj Bakshi) gives him an ultimatum – sell his first-ever machine in two days (by Friday) or be sacked. The desperate Rajiv finds solace in a call to Bela, who orders a machine that he will install at her home on Friday.

On Friday morning, however, Bela has to leave for Shimla for some work, and hubby Gagan, whom she trusts blindly, plans a rendezvous there with Bindu. When Rajiv arrives there, he assumes Bindu is Bela. The proceedings get madder when a thief (Brijendra Kala) enters the home in broad daylight, Bela returns as she has had a car mishap and needs the car papers to show the cops, and finds Bindu and Gagan in an embrace. There is a “No Entry” like situation, and things get messier with the barrage of lies that come up.

Despite the fun element that is relentless and consistent, much like an Indian stage comedy on extramarital liaisons, for me, what worked best was the post-climax in which an old Gagan and Bela exchange notes on the past.

The dialogues (Manu Rishi Chadha and additional work by Meghvrat Singh Gurjar, who doubles up as Sameer, the slimy office colleague of Rajiv) are the mainstay of the film and are extremely witty and hilarious. A sitcom of this kind needs a farce and slapstick element, and that is also present in a judicious amount.

Bringing the house down is the “Mughal-E-Azam” sequence, and also the verbal exchanges between Gagan and the thief. Some of the one-liners are superb (like the “mandir-ghanti” one), but some are lost in unclear sound and maybe dubbing because Govinda has a habit of belting out sentences with speed.

Mercifully, the director keeps his actors on his toes – Sharma and Kala were also there in his debut comedy “Dolly Ki Doli” some years ago – and they rise to the occasion. Govinda, of course, is a seasoned trouper at comedy and kills it with his spontaneity, incredible sense of timing and quicksilver changes in expressions. The man may be commercially down, but his talent is clearly intact.

Varun Sharma is one of those actors who always irritates in a film’s trailer but delivers within the film. Frankly, we would love to watch this unequal in age pair more often! Prabhleen Sandhu fits her part well, and Digangana makes a promising debut as well. Kala is outstandingly low-key, but the cake among the support goes to Rajesh Sharma’s brilliant turn as Bindu’s husband. The rest of the cast fit the bill and do a good job.

Technically slick and sleek, the film eschews songs, except for an opening credit titles number and an end-credit song. Happily, the film is not disturbed at all, which makes a marked relief from the standard Govinda comedy with largely irrelevant songs placed as speed-breakers.

In the surfeit of dry fare this week, this one’s razor-sharp in its aim to connect and is a fluid and very entertaining watch.

Rating: ***1/2

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