After their last outing together with the mammoth ‘Guzaarish’ UTV Motion Pictures and SLB Films are back with a smaller film. A good decision, considering the financial drain caused by the former and, of course, the market conditions. ‘My Friend Pinto’ is intended to be a ‘cute’ film which is supposed to leave you with a smile when you exit the theater. To find out about what it does exactly, read on...
Michael Pinto (Prateik) believes that everybody in this world is kind, honest and innocent, just like him. His doting mother and his childhood best friend are the two most important people in his life. After his mother’s demise, Pinto decides to serve the church as per his mother’s wish. He decides to visit his best friend Sameer (Arjun Mathur), who lives in the big city and is busy with his wife and job that he doesn’t even find time to reply to Pinto’s letters. Pinto arrives in Mumbai and what follows is a comedy of errors where he is sucked into the spirit, flavor and people of the city, touching the lives of people he comes across.
Let’s make one thing clear. This film is about Pinto and Pinto only and is aptly titled. You could call the film experimental as it seems to take inspiration from films like ‘11:14’ to the extent that random events bring a few strangers to a common conclusion. The conclusion here being ‘Pinto’. Finally, someone has cracked the code on how to portray innocence as what it is and not stupid. Pinto looks innocent. His actions scream innocence. He gets robbed, people cheat him but never once do we feel that Pinto is stupid.
Prateik has grown leaps and bounds as an actor. The actors have given their best. Divya Dutta (as a failed actress), Makrand (as a Malayalee don), Raj Zutshi (as don’s side-kick) have given memorable performances. Kalki is like a breath of fresh air. Having said that, Prateik still needs to improve. His facial expressions during the song sequences are a let down. Makrand’s Mallu-Hindi could have been better especially when he lovingly calls his wife ‘Reshma moleee’. It gives you creeps rather than make you laugh. Kalki doesn’t look Indian and I believe she could have contributed more had she more screen time.
If you look at the job of a director as one who translates written words to visual language along with making sure that the right emotion is conveyed, then Raaghav Dar has got most of it right. He has to make sure to hire a good writer because the screenplay was clearly a let down. The film starts off with Pinto arriving in Mumbai and then goes off to establish each character in the film. The screenplay strays to such an extent that you begin to wonder if the film is really going anywhere. If they say that the first few minutes of a film are important, then the damage is done in this case. The screenplay had to be crisper. I feel it would have been even fine if the number of random characters were less. Come second half and you get to see where the film is really heading. The way the characters are connected is proper. Director Raaghav seems to get the message across in spite of writer Raaghav goofing up.
Other departments seem to do average. Nothing out of the ordinary. The songs by Ajay-Atul don’t let you down. The songs actually grow on you. Camera work by Gargay Trivedi doesnt distracts you from the film. Film editor Shan Mohammed could have contributed more in the first half. The choreography by Longiness gives a Hollywood musical feel to the songs. The green screen shots are not up to the mark. The sequences in the high rise buildings (ex: the one where Pinto tries to escape from the locked balcony) looks fake.
Overall, My Friend PInto is not a film that you should feel guilty about missing. It has some interesting performances. It is a very good attempt for a debut director. If only the writing had been better. It remains a mystery whether the PR story about Prateik going celibate till the film releases is going to actually motivate somebody to watch the film.
Verdict: Watch it. Only if you have nothing better to do