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Bheja Fry: Unlikely Hero

6 Votes | Average: 3.5 out of 56 Votes | Average: 3.5 out of 56 Votes | Average: 3.5 out of 56 Votes | Average: 3.5 out of 56 Votes | Average: 3.5 out of 5 (6 votes, average: 3.5 out of 5)
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Bheja Fry: Unlikely HeroVinay Pathak’s antics as Bharat Bhushan in Sagar Ballary’s film Bheja Fry, put the actor on par with established Bollywood veterans. His comic forte has been noticed earlier of course, as a veejay, and as a partner of Ranvir Shorey in the hilarious curtain raiser to the matches of the football World Cup last year. But with ‘Bheja Fry’, Vinay has really scored a century. Critics have remarked that he carries the film on his shoulders, and indeed he does.

What made Ballary achieve such a wonderful piece of casting? Well, for a start, Vinay’s role in the film is meant to be that of a man who is emotional, has dreams of becoming something some day, and compulsively reaches out to his fellow human beings. Sounds a lot like one of us, right? Add to this the fact that his looks are strictly the kind that you may encounter traveling next to you on the local train, the bus to work, the flight to Bangalore – and you grasp the extent of his ‘ordinariness’. But from such unremarkable elements, Ballary and Pathak together deliver a character that is bound to stay in people’s memory, and more, remain embedded in their hearts, for a long time to come.

There is one action – unwrapping an old fashioned scrapbook from its polythene cover – that Vinay does a dozen times in the film. The polythene bag is red and yellow and dotted ‘bandhini’ style, as if it might contain sweets, or a wedding saree. After placing his scrapbook inside, Vinay, alias Bharat Bhushan, always ties it up with a red string, to further emphasize its ‘preciousness’. The way he puts the scrapbook inside its cover and his briefcase, and the way he keeps extracting it at different times is packed with so much expression that you begin to marvel at this particular device on the part of the director and actor.

In the beginning, when Bharat Bhushan is seeming merely foolish, one feels almost sorry for him, wondering at the knocks he will surely encounter in this harsh world. But such is the way the film unfolds that the naïve character of Vinay begins to gather strength, and the sophisticated one of Rajat Kapoor begins to crumble. By the end, you are not laughing at Bharat Bhushan any more – you are laughing with him, and feeling sorry instead for those ‘smart guys’ trapped inside their own cynicism.

By making us question our own assumptions about the ‘ordinary’ people we encounter every day, ‘Bheja Fry’ and its robust looking protagonist, Vinay Pathak, have done us all a great service.

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