Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya
AFTER LYING low for some time the Padmalayas are back. The house
which became synonymous with action-packed films in the 1980s fell on bad times with many films coming a cropper at the box office. Now, with ``Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiya'' a remake of a super hit Telugu film the house aims to win over its old fans. who like their cinema loud and, maybe, even lewd
``Aamdani....", like many other Padmalaya ventures, is directed by K. Raghavendra Rao.After seeing his latest venture here, how one wishes K. Raghavendra Rao, had saved us the spectacle of an outrageously retrograde film. In his endeavour to raise a few good laughs about middle-class couples facing an increasingly uphill struggle to make ends meet, he exposes us all to ridicule. Ditto for the stars. Particularly such established names like Govinda, Tabu and Juhi Chawla.
Now Raghavendra Rao, while never being able to impress the discerning cinegoer, has in the past come up with reasonably successful ventures. He has earlier given us films like "Tohfa", a Jeetendra-Sridevi-Jaya Prada film which hit the bull's eye in the early 1980s,``Naya Kadam'' and ``Pataal Bhairavi", a silver jubilee hit. This time, he is unlikely to have as much luck. And if this flick has to succeed, it will need certain generosity on the part of cinemagoers. He raises one or two good laughs but at a steep cost.
The film deals with the problems of people living in rented apartments in a metropolis, people who survive on their salary and always dream of a rainbow behind the myriad clouds which come visiting every month. A sound premise for a film, one would say. After all, right from the 1950s to 1990s, we have had sumptuous fare on the subject. Way back in the 1950s, Kishore Kumar starred in "New Delhi", a film dealing with the problem of accommodation. Then in the 1970s, we had Bhimsen teaming up with Amol Palekar and Zarina Wahab to come up with a fetching``Gharonda". And then there was Rekha-Vinod Mehra's ``Ghar'' which is still remembered for its lilting music. Unfortunately, not many will say similar things about Rao's film. More likely, it will meet the fate of another flick with a similar premise screened this year. The reference is to Priyadarsan's``Yeh Tera Ghar, Yeh Mera Ghar''which had its fine moments but failed to weave them together.
Rao's film is even worse. Here it is not just a case of tenants facing the wrath of the landlord for non-payment of rent and struggling to pay their sundry other bills. Instead, he raises a pertinent issue of women working in the offices to supplement the family income. As in life, here too they encounter husbands who snowball their efforts and take wives' penny earning as a dig at their manhood. However, what makes this comedy tragic is the slide from such a wonderful premise.
Instead of sensitively holding the exchanges together and weaving in a few witty one-liners, we have the retrograde scenes of men bashing up women for any attempt to step beyond the house. And the women putting up with all this with an outrageous laugh.
Each of the three main male characters lifts a hand at the spouses. And until they are thrown out of the house women never raise their hand to protest. Preposterous, one would say, but there were in the audience people lapping up such retrograde fare with glee!
This comedy about people perpetually hand-to-mouth puts its foot where its mouth is. Cinegoers do not slip your hand into the wallet for taking out the `atthanni' for watching this film. But if the exhibitors get bright by half and offer a ``buy one, get one free'' scheme, don't fall for the bait. You will still be short-changed. Save your `atthanni' for another day.
ZIYA US SALAM
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