Nautanki Saala Fails to Get to the Point


In Nautanki Saala, an Indian romantic comedy loosely based on the 2003 French film Après Vous, director Rohan Sippy (Dum Maaro Dum) and his two co-writers listlessly force lovesick stage-actor-cum-director RP (Ayushmann Khurrana) into a sleepy love triangle. After RP stops Mandar (Kunaal Roy Kapur), a lonely simpleton, from killing himself, he feels responsible for Mandar’s life. RP tries to help the more slow-than-dumb Mandar regain his confidence by giving him the lead role in a new play. Meanwhile, RP also tries to reunite Mandar with Nandini (Pooja Salvi), a florist who broke up with Mandar and never explained why. Sippy and his co-writers take too much time to establish Nautanki Saala‘s central conflict: As RP spends so much time trying to get Nandini to dump her ditzy lover for Mandar, she inadvertently falls in love with RP—a development that only occurs two-thirds of the way through the movie. Mandar ineffectively excuses his creators’ failure to get to the point when he explains why he loves the theater: “Anything can happen to anyone, and at any time.” Still, too much of Nautanki Saala is long-winded, disjointed setup to RP’s romantic dilemma: should he dump Nandini or betray Mandar? Nautanki Saala‘s creators spend so much time disinterestedly transitioning from one plot point to the next that they only effectively establish the haphazard nature of RP and Nandini’s romance.