Planet Bollywood
Home Delivery
Producer: Shabbir Boxwala/ Sahara One / Percept Pictures
Director: Sujoy Ghosh
Starring: Viveik Anand Oberoi, Boman Irani, Mahima Chaudhary, Ayesha Takia, Juhi Chawla, Karan Johar, Arif Zakaria, Tiku Talsania.
Music: Vishal-Shekhar
Lyrics: Vishal
Genre: Comedy
Recommended Audience: General
Approximate Running Time: 151 mins
Film Released on: 02 December 2005
Reviewed by: Shahid Khan  - Rating: 5.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 410 viewers)
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There are huge expectations for Sujoy Ghosh┬┤s second feature after his debut, "Jhankaar Beats". The expectations for Ghosh┬┤s second film increase when several industry insiders talk about how marvellous and inventive the script is.

Watching "Home Delivery", I was suspicious that maybe these so-called "industry insiders" had been reading the script of an entirely different movie. For the scripting and the screenplay is the main problem of this home delivery.

"Home Delivery" is about the insecurities of one man Sunny (Viveik Anand Oberoi) and his faltering relationship with Jenny (Ayesha Takia). Enter the devil in the form of superstar actress Maya (Mahima Chaudhary), who leads Sunny unto temptation. And enter the angel in the form of Michael (Boman Irani), a pizza delivery man who teaches Sunny the values of life.

The story spans 48 hours and culminates in a Diwali celebration. This timeframe is always kept in mind throughout the whole narrative. Sujoy Ghosh and his team of writers (Milap Zhaveri, Suresh Nair and Ritesh Shah) restrict themselves to narrating events that are likely to happen in two days. Other films have the luxury of having narratives that are spread over weeks, months and even years to chart the progress of character development.

And to be fair to the makers of "Home Delivery", it is very difficult to keep a movie interesting when you have to keep such a timeframe in mind. Other films with a similar problem choose the route of long and deep conversations between characters to pass the time (examples that spring to mind include "Raincoat" and "Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaye"). This method either fails miserably or is pulled off with amazing panache. Sujoy Ghosh concentrates hard on sketching out the main characters through personal and intimate conversations rather than through a dramatic plot.

Not that there is not any drama. It is just that the whole focus of this drama is misplaced. So, we have action-packed and curiosity arousing subplots involving the serial killer, the tone-deaf singer of a neighbour and a fading superstar desperate to get into a Karan Johar film. No care has been taken to delicately unweave the emotional core of the main drama surrounding the three principal characters of Sunny, Jenny and Michael. It is poorly handled and opportunities to flesh it out into more interesting areas of plot are wasted.

On the positive side, the conversations are well written with plenty of chances given for Sunny and Jenny to muse on their observations of each other and their philosophies regarding what life is all about. Ignoring the plodding narrative, there are occasionally touching and cute tender moments between Sunny and Jenny when they tease each other with jokes or nicknames. When you do choose to settle in and familiarise yourself with the mannerisms of all the major and minor characters, "Home Delivery" does provide enjoyment to a certain extent.

The snazzy presentation of quirky flashbacks and cheerful quips to the camera means that there is always something to watch even when the plot is obviously suffering under the weight of this slick packaging. The comedy is extremely entertaining - highlights include mini-flashbacks of Sunny as a spotty teenager, Maya┬┤s introduction scene and the surreal videos of the song "Cuckoo Cuckoo". This keeps you tuned to the film even when you begin to wonder whether the story is actually going anywhere.

Another major problem is the miscasting of Viveik Anand Oberoi as the scriptwriter/agony uncle indifferent to the beauty of relationships and life. He overdoes the emphasis on his sarcastic quips and seems ill suited to his role. Rahul Bose, Sanjay Suri or Abhishek Bachchan would have been ideal choices. Oberoi does not have natural comic timing and it is best if this actor does roles that play to his strengths rather than picking roles that highlight his weaknesses.

Michael is a character who is a little slow on the uptake and blessedly Boman Irani does not exploit this trait for crude laughs. His is a sincere and warm performance. Ayesha Takia┬┤s zingy screen presence also adds to the warmth factor. Mahima Chaudhary is a riot in a couple of the humorous scenes and almost steals the show. Unfortunately for Chaudhary, Maya is a half-baked caricature rather than a three-dimensional character leaving with her little acting meat to bite into. Still, she exploits the spoof factor to the fullest and raises a few chuckles.

The media, in general, has been too unkind to this film. Yes, it is terribly disappointing but there are good moments. Sujoy Ghosh has concentrated too much on the comedy and emotional message of the story while he has taken the script and screenplay for granted. All good directors make mistakes and I still consider Ghosh to be a promising talent... He will just have to work harder to get all the ingredients balanced correctly in his next film.

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