This is the first time I'm doing a film review. I was privileged to have been one of the many bloggers invited by IndiBlogger for a special screening of a film made exclusively for MTV. Multinational biggie HUL and MTV have come together with a unique concept called MTV Films. The concept will feature six films, each made by a distinct Bollywood film-maker and showcasing the philosophies of distinct HUL brands. The screening was held on 21st March 2014, at Courtyard by Marriott, Andheri East.
The series kickstarts with a film titled 'Sunsilk Real FM'. Written and produced by Anurag Basu, the film is directed by actor, writer and theatre personality Akarsh Khurana. The film revolves around Rhea and her friends, Saloni, Natasha and Akanksha. Rhea is the young daughter of the owner of a radio station that has seen better days. The channel enjoys no popularity with listeners, investors have lost faith, finances are bad, content is worse, and the station's employees want a hike without which they want out. Rhea's dad succumbs to pressure and suffers a heart attack. With absolutely zero knowledge about the business, no employees left to fall back on, and her dad hitting the bed, Rhea must keep the station running so as to impress and raise fresh funds from investors. Trust her and her motley gang of friends - the ever energetic and street-smart Natasha, the confused and timid, but reliable Saloni and wannabe journalist Akanksha to keep the station running. They even manage to find help from a 'trying-too-hard-to-be-funny' Chartered Accountant, two goons and an ex-employee, who happens to be Rhea's ex-boyfriend. Together, they come up with an amazing idea for content on Independence Day, wherein they play songs from all the states in India. They also fend off opposition from disgruntled ex-employees and a cop known to cause trouble. Saloni, who we eventually learn is a good singer, brings up the climax with a wonderful song that sweeps listeners off their feet and fetches the station the services of a once-popular RJ, new-found loyalty from listeners, social change, interest from investors and a new deal from Sunsilk. Most of all, it brings joy to Rhea's dad.
The story is a tad unrealistic, what with the girls learning the business in barely six hours and doing in a single day what professionals couldn't do in years. However, this can be forgiven on grounds of creative license and on the premise that the story delivers important lessons on hope, determination, out-of-the-box thinking and courage. The movie tries its best to deliver socially relevant messages going all out against discrimination, racism, regionalism and emotional bondage. The final scene where Saloni's over-protective father expresses his love and pride in her was touching. The Chartered Accountant's jokes really cracked me up, even where the intention was to portray him as a horrible comic. Another thing what was a refreshing change was the fact that the director did not dwell too much on the love interest angle of the protagonists, instead leaving it to the imagination of the viewers. The only major disappointment in the screenplay was the done-to-death "Tumne mujhe bhaiyya kaha? Oh Didi!" scene.
The music is earthy and rustic, barring the song picturised on Saloni's character. Most of the songs are devoid of too many instruments, replying merely on acoustic guitars and bongos, probably to give it a realistic feel. However, unplugged songs work for me only if the vocals are really good. Nevertheless, some of the songs had really catchy tunes, and MTV would do well to create full-fledged and refined studio versions of these songs.
The actors have all done their job well. Veteran Benjamin Gilani renders a controlled performance as the owner of the radio station. Malhaar Rathod as Rhea is composed and pretty. Preetika Chawla as the street-smart Natasha is superb. But the actor who gives a thumbs up performance is Abeer Abrar, who plays the shy, timid and extremely likeable Saloni. The actor playing the funny Chartered Accountant is also very good.
All in all, the film is one with a message and should appeal to the youth.
The film premieres on Sunday 23rd May at 7 pm. you might be able to watch the repeat telecast at other points during the month.