Raja Natwarlal Hindi Movie Review
Mithilesh Kumar Srivastav a.k.a Natwarlal is by far one of the most interesting personalities that has probably lived in India. A person who could sell of the Taj Mahal and the Parliament could have not been an ordinary guy!
While not making a biopic, Kunal Deshmukh pays his own tribute to the legend of con Natwarlal and also Victor Lustig, the man who sold the Eifel Tower! He names his lead characters, played by Emraan Hashmi and Paresh Rawal, after these two real life conmen.
Whether the film is as interesting as these con-icons is another matter altogether.
In its element Raja Natwarlal is a revenge drama. A conman and his pal steal Rs 80 lakh from a big fish. The pal gets bumped off and the conman decides to avenge. Raja (Emraan Hashmi) lands up in a small town in Himachal Pradesh seeking help from the legendary conman Yogi (Paresh Rawal) who used to operate under the name of 'Victor Singh Khan' before he settled into a retired lifestyle. Together they plot to cripple the big fish Vardha Yadav (Kay Kay) in a typical cheese and mousetrap ploy. They will sell a non-existent cricket team to a cricket fanatic!
The premise is promising and is everything that could be a decent 'masala' entertainer. And yet Raja Natwarlal falls short. With a screenplay that limps, the film is not half as smart as the makers probably intended it to be. It also sorely misses the humour that usually lights up a con film.
The film fails to surprise and delivers exactly what the audience may be expecting to happen. Even the last minute 'big surprise' fails to amuse.
Even bigger a problem is the romantic angle between Emraan Hashmi and Humaina Mallik. The actress fails to impress. Worse, the music on which their love story is suppose to evolve is disastrous. The fable of Emraan Hashmi movies always having fantastic music seems to be dying. Heck, I watched this film at a single screen and did not find people whistle the way they do during romantic scenes in other Emraan Hashmi films! Tragic lack of chemistry!
The highlights of Raja Natwarlal does not happen to be the plan but the performances. It is always a delight watching actors like Paresh Rawal and Kay Kay. The later specifically has hardly got any good roles on the longest time. Mohammad Zeesha Ayyub is wasted! Emraan Hashmi, with his usual cockiness, is good as usual.
Raja Natwarlal could have been a shorter film had it not wasted as much time of the non-happening romance. Probably focusing more on adding finesse to the heist could have taken this film notches higher. This one is just not cool enough a con-film, after you have watched films like Special 26 in the recent past. An attempt to create a 'naya India ka naya Natwarlal' had to be smarter, else it is just demeaning the original icon!