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Dalal Street Blues

Saturday, October 27, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

Gauravv K. Chawla
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Rohan Mehra, Chitrangada Singh, Radhika Apte and others
Rating: * *

There is something to be said for perfect casting, even if it borders on stereotype. Saif Ali Khan simply does not pass off a canny Gujarati stock trader, who studied at a Kendriya Vidyalaya in Surat—he can’t even pronounce it.

The other problem with Baazaar is that while there may be a great deal of excitement in a trading office, with all that buy-sell yelling, and fortunes made and lost, it does not make for absorbing cinema, unless the director is Oliver Stone (Wall Street) or Martin Scorsese (The Wolf Of Wall Street), which newbie Gauravv Chawla is not, and he has the nerve to steal from a film way beyond his league.

Rizwan Ahmad (Rohan Mehra-- earnest) is an Allahabad boy, for whom Mumbai is heaven and unscrupulous business wiz Shakun Kothari his god. He is prone to dialoguebaazi like “I not come here to struggle, but to settle,” but when it comes to the crunch, he is quite dumb. He manages to get a job in a brokerage firm, and rises with help from a co-worker, Priya (Radhika Apte--passable), who has her own motives for giving him valuable tips.

After an encounter in a hotel bathroom, where Rizwan supposedly proves that he has the ability to make money, Shakun takes him under his wing, and shows him the good life. Obviously, he has an ulterior scheme and no qualms about using and discarding Rizwan.

It’s a script with no element of surprise, and no ability to draw the viewer into the world of high finance; instead there are the clichéd corrupt ministers and a sole SEBI investigator (who comes too late into the picture to make any impact).

Chawla has added some Indian touches to it, like the Gujarati businessman’s use of the ‘angadiya’, a Jain ritual of “michchami dukadam” chanting as wheeling-dealing goes on in another room. But Kothari’s family life (his stoic wife played by an indifferent Chitrangada Singh) is portrayed with dull strokes. Rizwan sporadically speaks to the camera, and every time Shakun says, “Let me tell you a story,” there are audible groans in the theatre.

If one is not interested in a guy like Rizwan, who drinks coffee, in which a man just spat to prove how smart he is, and the smooth, suave Shakun is a slime who will do just about anything for money, and hits on other women in front or his wife, then their story has no hook.

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