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'Raja Natwarlal' review: Interesting story told predictably, it leaves you bored out of your mind


Rajeev Masand,CNN-IBN
Aug 30, 2014 at 05:06pm IST

Star Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Humaima Mallick, Kay Kay, Paresh Rawal, Deepak Tijori, Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub

Director: Kunal Deshmukh

I can think of a few things one could do to bide 2 hours and 20 minutes. Like catch reruns of Modern Family on television, speed-read the new Chetan Bhagat bestseller so you don't feel left out during water-cooler conversations at work, perhaps conquer a few levels of Candy Crush on your phone. Anything but watch the new Emraan Hashmi starrer Raja Natwarlal.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't the worst film you'll see this year, but it is an interesting story told predictably. Just consider the plot: Tired of fleecing unsuspecting folks out of a few thousand rupees, petty conman Raja (Hashmi) sets his sights on a big job, hoping to start a new life with his bar-dancer girlfriend Zia (Pakistani actress Humaima Malick). The plan backfires; his partner Raghav (Deepak Tijori) is killed, and now he is a wanted man. Left with no choice, he seeks out Yogi (Paresh Rawal), a seasoned crook currently in retirement, to help him avenge his partner's death by plotting to humiliate and rob his murderer, the shady cricket-obsessed Cape Town billionaire Vardha Yadav (Kay Kay Menon).

Borrowing liberally from the Ocean's Eleven movies, Khosla Ka Ghosla and Special 26, director Kunal Deshmukh and his writers engage their protagonists in an elaborate con that might have been more thrilling if you had any reason to believe that Raja and Yogi possessed either the means or the smarts to pull it off. Premier league officials are impersonated and a fake auction staged, but it's never entirely convincing. This is one of those rare films that delivers twists at every turn, yet does it without much flair or genuine surprise.

Neither as entertaining as your average Emraan Hashmi thriller, nor clever enough to engage anyone seeking a deliciously complex caper, Raja Natwarlal is the kind of film that leaves you bored out of your mind. I'm going with a generous two out of five. It won't give you a migraine, but it's so banal, you would probably have more fun doing your laundry instead.

Rating: 2 / 5

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