July Issue 2012

By | Arts & Culture | Movies | Published 12 years ago

Once every year or so, a certain film arrives to reaffirm that Bollywood is not just defined by big budget fare such as Rowdy Rathore andBodyguard. Ferrari ki Sawari has received rave reviews in the Indian press and has done well at the Indian box office despite its modest budget. It follows the Munna Bhai and 3 Idiots format but it still cashes on the successful Bollywood formula — escapist commercial cinema — with that lingering, feel-good movie feel, where all wrongs are righted at the end. Taglined ‘Small Guys, Big Dreams,’ Ferrari ki Sawari appeals to every ordinary South Asian bloke’s desire to hit a sixer at Lords and zoom down the street in a red Ferrari. Inspired by Indian demigod, Sachin Tendulkar’s phenomenal success, the pitch is simple enough — every Indian guy wants to be a Sachin, with a spanking new red Ferrari. It’s quite the materialistic fantasy, especially in a world where cricket has become so much about money.

But cynicism aside, the story of Ferrari ki Sawari is appealing and funny, and there’s some great acting by the lead ensemble. Cricket prodigy Kayo (Ritwik Sahore) adores his dad, Rustom Deboo, known as Rusy (Sharman Joshi of 3 Idiots fame), an overly earnest, proper fellow and a devoted single father who attempts to be a role-model to his son and inculcate all the right values in him. Rusy who is a clerk at the Motor Vehicles Department, doesn’t earn much of a salary and lives with his curmudgeon of a father, Behram Deboo (Boman Irani), in a typical Parsi block of flats in Mumbai. Kayo is the silver lining in Rusy’s life and his smiling, good behaviour and cricketing talent is every father’s dream come true — even though the grandfather is usually irritated by the kid. When Kayo is selected for an under-14 coaching camp by the MCC at Lords, Rusy is challenged to come up with the cash to fund the trip. Enter wedding-planner, Baboo Didi (Seema Pahwa), a client at Rusy’s office, who is in desperate need of a Ferrari for the wedding of a local thug politician’s son, in return for which she will give him the Rs 1.5 lakh that he needs. Rusy knows that the only Ferrari in town belongs to Sachin Tendulkar, and from here develops a potpourri of events that occur within the timeline of the Ferrari being ‘borrowed’ by Rusy, its arrival at the wedding and its eventual return to the Tendulkar residence. Daddy Deboo’s change of heart about his grandson is also touchingly conceived and Boman Irani does a tremendous job as usual, finally joining in Rusy’s plan to raise the funds for Lords.

With a directorial debut by Rajesh Mapuskar, the understudy to Rajkumar Hirani (who has written the movie’s dialogue), and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra of the famous Munna Bhai series, the team’s successful dynamic is evident in the sweet father-son relationship that emerges in the film and the resonance of the message of going after your dreams, whatever it takes. Though the story is predictable, it is straightforward without any subplots, which is definitely a break from the usual Bollywood mould. A lacklustre cameo item number by Vidya Balan, however, was entirely unnecessary.

With Ferrari ki Sawari rumoured to proceed into franchise mode, it seems the producers are onto a good thing — in the next instalment they may be interested in exploring the family dynamics of a young celebrity cricketer, if Kayo becomes one. The possibilities are endless — so, bring on the sequel.

This movie review was originally published in the July issue of Newsline under the headline “Dare to Dream.”

The writer is a former assistant editor at Newsline