Post Sex and the City's jump to the big-screen, Khichdi – The Film started the trend of transforming television show brands into full feature films, which is now followed by one of the most loved comedy show of all time on Indian television – Office Office, now called Chala Mussaddi Office Office. Post Khichdi – The Film's marginal success, will Chala Mussaddi Office Office be able to continue the trend? Will it be able to live up to the expectations of the thousands of people watching the show since a number of years and enjoying its re-runs too till date? Doubtful!
Let's face it; corruption has become an inevitable factor of our life and society. And we live with it! Actually, we have become okay with it. The question is – why are we okay with it? Why are we okay with the unprofessional attitude of people in government offices? Why are we okay with paying any amount from Rs. 100 – Rs. 2000 to get what we are entitled to get free? If we don't, why are we okay to roam around the offices for months and months to get our work done? Why don't we stand up for ourselves and at least try to do something about it? But then the reply will be – who has the time and patience, isn't it? This movie is about that one person who did stand up not only for himself, but for the society. There's a dialogue in the film where an aged friend of Mussaddi tells him, "Himmat hai to pension le lo". That sums up the entire film!
Retired schoolmaster Mussaddi Lal Tripathy, the quintessential 'common man' troubled by his wife's serious illness takes her to the hospital where the utter negligence and vested interests of the doctors result in her untimely death. Along with his young unemployed drifter son Bunty, Mussaddi sets out for his pilgrimage to the four holy sites for the immersion of his wife's ashes. In his absence, due to a misunderstanding, pension officers interpret that Mussaddi Lal has expired and report him dead in their files. When Mussaddi returns he discovers to his utter shock that he is dead according to government files. He tries his heart out to make the pension office staff believe that he is alive, but the pension office employees resolve that whatever happens, they will not allow him to be officially alive since they have already mopped up his pension money. Mussaddi decides to revolt in his own way and decides to take the law in his hands. Does Mussaddi finally get his justice or does he remain a dead victim of the bureaucracy? Can Mussaddi overcome the corrupt system and its officials and be triumphant, and alive, if so how?
Let's get one thing straight – Chala Mussaddi Office Office is not an out-and-out comedy film. If it's supposed to be, then it's highly disappointing. You don't really laugh much in the film except a scene here and there. That's the main problem with the film! The dramatic moments in the film are more impactful than the funny ones. So if watched as a regular film, it's a decent watch. But sadly, that's not what the audience is going to be expecting. Office Office – the brand – is known for its comedy genre. Also, the show loyalists would be expecting the same splendid humor rather than just a social message. No doubt the social message given through this film is highly impactful. But there's no point of any message if the film doesn't meet the entertainment expectations of the audience. Plus, the end of the film though motivating seems very Bollywoodish. Very conveniently, the judge had to get all the proceedings done in front of India Gate (for a better-looking climax?) and also turn out to be Mussaddi's student.
Director Rajiv Mehra does a good job in keeping the flow of the film between the different offices and also ensuring it not get monotonous on the audience. If the comedy aspect would be dealt with in a better manner, that would have done it for the film. Hence, the writing is mainly at fault here. The screenplay and editing is also tight and appropriate. There is not a single moment in the entire film one can term as boring. Yes, it won't roll you off your chair, but it's an interesting watch throughout. The music is decent and helped in taking the story ahead, however, did seem unnecessary at places.
By the way, what's that?! During the climax scene including all the characters, Sanjay Mishra's part looks visibly shot separately! And it's horribly fitted in an ugly way. Guys, such presentation flaws are allowed in television, but not in the theatres.
Having most of the star cast comprising of seasoned actors, performances are expected to be first-rate. Thankfully, no disappointment lies there. Needles to say, Pankaj Kapur is an actor par excellence and has given a terrific performance once again. It would be a shame on the Bollywood award functions if he doesn't get nominated for the Best Actor category. Remaining actors among the supporting lot (old cast) are also excellent including Deven Bhojani, Manoj Pahwa, Sanjay Mishra, Hemant Pandey and Asawari Joshi. However, the one that stands out is undoubtedly Deven Bhojani. He's simply fantastic! If you laugh in the film, it's mainly because of his naturally brilliant comic streak. Another worthy nomination! Watch out for Deven Bhojani in the scene at the bank where Pankaj Kapur comes to know about not receiving any pension for 3 months, he's hilarious! New addition Gaurav Kapur is entertaining. Farida Jalal and Makrand Deshpandey are wasted. Mahesh Thakur is regular. The rest of the supporting cast is okay.
Fortunately, the film was never planned to be a senseless comedy. So even though the comedy doesn't work much, the film is still interesting to an extent. However, overall, like Khichdi fans even most of Office Office fans might be disappointed with the film version of it. Final verdict? Go for it if you have nothing better to do. It's an interesting time-pass film, but don't expect a laugh riot.
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