The film starts with a death of a high-profile person in Gujarat and the suspects are Raghu Mehta (Rajkummar Rao) and Dr. Wardhi (Boman Irani). Both of them are dragged into an investigation room and that is where the flashback unfolds on Raghu’s illegal venture proposed by a Chinese guy, Tiger Soup.
It is very well known that the Director is going to give us a film on how Raghu manages to become a successful entrepreneur. While I thought the film will be an ode to businessmen/women who have struggled their way to become the top honchos, it was nothing like that. The scenes which have Paresh Rawal, who plays the role of Tanmay Shah, had some valuable lessons about entrepreneurship, but that is all we get. That topic is avoided like it’s a taboo for the rest of the film.
There is no reason as to why Raghu is hiding his latest business from his wife. While we’re shown that they have a very close relationship, the reason isn’t completely told. We assume that Rukmini (Mouni Roy) is a modern woman who doesn’t shy off from smoking with her husband but she gets terribly ‘annoyed’ with her husband because he’s selling an aphrodisiac. Rukmini, as a character, could’ve been charted out or written better.
To be honest, there’s no authenticity to her as a middle-class Gujarati housewife. She’s all decked up with makeup and dressed to the nines. She is a good actor but this particular one could’ve gone to someone who looked the part.
Out of all the characters, a thepla has a super character arc (sarcasm not intended; it did have an arc). Right from its introduction to the hilarious ‘marketing’ by Paresh Rawal in a bar, it was amazing to see Mikhil Musale engage in marketing theplas. He has exploited the setup and payoff technique with just a simple thepla and surprisingly, it has worked out well. We get to hear a beautiful description of the famous Gujarati flatbread by Paresh Rawal. Restaurateurs can sell theplas like hotcakes with that description written on the menu card. That was how good it was.
We get a really engaging scene in the first half featuring Paresh Rawal and Rajkummar Rao where the former is explaining the tiny nuances of running a successful business. This reminded me of a scene from The Wolf of Wall Street, in which Matthew McConaughey is revealing the secrets of a successful career in stock broking to Leonardo Di Caprio. A refreshing scene where a senior educates his junior the tricks of the trade. Simple.
While there is not much to praise in the film, the core idea of the film is praise-worthy. It took a lot of time for Bollywood to address topics which are considered taboo. In the past decade, a string of movies have touched upon subjects like – some couples need sperm donors (Vicky Donor, 2012), that women menstruate and masturbate (Padman and Veere Di Wedding, 2018) and with upcoming films talking about male baldness (Bala, Ujda Chaman), homosexual relationships (Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdan). These are important films to have conversations started about topics that people otherwise shy away from.
This film suffers from fitting into one genre though it touches many. It wasn’t necessary for the director to make a commercial film with small tinges of patriotism. I think movies may want to stick to what they are trying to say and not try to get into immature digression. That dilutes the soul of the movie (if there was one) and gives it an unhealthy diversity which isn’t too pleasant when watched as a whole.
The climax is one of the highlights of the film. Boman Irani delivers a lengthy monologue on sex talk and why it’s important for a country with a population of 130 crore. It is one of the high points in the film for the writing and a powerhouse performance by the veteran.
All’s well that ends well. So, it’s not a bad film per se but it needed a potion of the Magic Soup to elevate some aspects of the film. While it definitely can’t enter the must watch category, watch the film for its double entendre humor, good performances by all the actors and the catchy number by Neha Kakkar with the end credits.