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When a 2 hour film feels like a 3 hour film you know there is a problem somewhere. Nautanki Saala is one of those films which tries hard to impress but manages to do it only in parts.
Ram Parmar ( Ayushmann Khurrana) is do gooder at heart and with the kind of money he has he is one of those rare species of a theatre actor/director who is very successful financially. One night Mandar Lele ( Kunaal Roy Kapur) who is attempting a suicide is saved by Ram after which he takes it upon himself to set his life right.
In an attempt to get his ex girlfriend Nandini ( Pooja Salvi) back Ram falls in love with her leading to some more nautanki.
Since the premise is so unexciting and wafer thin you wonder what got Rohan Sippy so excited about the French film Apres Vous to adapt it in Hindi. If you watch the trailer of the original you might wonder the same.
Rohan Sippy changes the restaurant setting from the original to a theatre staging a play called Raavan Leela in which Ayushmann plays Raavan. Alas, the setting is not utilized for the madness nautanki that was expected in a rom com like this. In fact towards the end the film shifts gear into becoming a drama which looks so out of place.
The film has it's funny moments like Ayushmann's scene at the hospital with the Malayalee nurse or Kunal Roy Kapur's audition. There is also an almost real time kiss between Ayushmann and Pooja Salvi. It's so long that I see its potential of becoming a viral clip on several Indian porn sites. It will be playing at a mobile near you soon.
Ayushmann is in the same mould as his Vicky Donor act but still is watchable on screen. It is Kunaal Roy Kapur who is the high point of the film. He impresses with his understated performance. His was a role that could have been played over the top by an actor working with some other director. Pooja Salvi is the weakest casting in the film and is the reason why the premise doesn't hold weight. Gaelyn Mendonca who plays Ayushmann's girl friend comes across much more appealing and confident than the lead.