The quirky title, Kuku Mathur Ki Jhand Ho Gayi, may give you the impression that it is a movie made with spontaneity, but you would be wrong. The producers, Ekta Kapoor and Bejoy Nambiar, went through the script and execution of the film with a fine-tooth comb, because they wanted it to be a believable story. In fact, even the title was decided upon after a survey. Given the onslaught of Delhi-based movies in the recent past, the producers did not want this film to be too predictable, one presumes. They were successful there, because the story goes through a myriad of unexpected events and emotions before settling down into any kind of a foreseeable pattern.
Kuku Mathur (Siddharth Gupta) is a motherless boy from Delhi. His father, like most middle-class urban parents, is more interested in Kuku's academic excellence (or lack of), than in indulging the boy with too much love.
Kuku, however, has his own dream - to become known for his culinary skills. With his limited exposure, he does not dream too big - just a restaurant here or dhaba there. He knows it is impossible for him to please his father with this ambition, so he is steeped in self-pity and helplessness. Especially since his best friend Ronnie Gulati (Ashish Juneja) seems to be effortlessly leading the life he wants.
Ronnie was born into money, and his grandfather has already presented him with a saree shop - the Gulatis are garment merchants. Kuku has no money, and he takes up a job as a spot boy with a shooting unit, just to make ends meet. He is also struggling with college.
Things get worse when Ronnie's family comments on his choice of a job. Ronnie himself has no time to spare for his best friend, and Kuku finds himself fast spiralling into a period of depression.
Adding to that depression is the fact that Mitali (Simran Kaur Mundi) has found herself a boyfriend. Kuku has always been in love with her, and this latest development is a blow to his existence. Enter Prabhakar (Amit Sial) from Kanpur. He decides to make Kuku his personal project, and takes control of the young boy's life. Prabhakar may mean well, and Kuku is optimistic about his moving in the right direction finally, but one has to pay the price for changing one's destiny.
Kuku Mathur Ki Jhand Ho Gayi is the story of an underdog, struggling with all his misfortunes. It is a commentary on the average Indian youth, and there is a trace of tragedy, of course, but with a comic angle. The problem with setting up this dichotomous reality in a screenplay is that the beginning is usually haphazard. As is the case with this one. The writers spend too much time setting up the characters and their interpersonal dynamics, and you may find your mind wandering every now and then.
While you understand and appreciate the effort to capture the monotony of a character such as Kuku, the point remains that the story becomes a little too dull overall. The humour is not forced, but it is not too interesting either, although it does bring your drifting mind back to the story. The romance, or at least the pining lover act, too, is not very convincing. It is understood that Kuku is too petrified about taking life by the horns, but even then, this seems stretched.
The relationships between father and son, and between the two friends, have a slight tinge of superficiality in them - in the execution of the concept, actually. Again, the humour distracts you from thinking too deeply about how practical or novel the events in the story are. You do feel a certain sympathy for the young Kuku Mathur, but tire of him just as easily, too. There is just so much patience that today's society would have for somebody like him.
The Prabhakar angle is the turning point in the movie, and you know that Kuku Mathur is going to be handed a better life, and maybe gain some self-respect and confidence along the way. However, some of the incidents become a bit too unpredictable and unbelievable. Again, the comedy is apparent, leading the movie into the hallowed genre of satires, almost, but stops short of touching your heart. Most of the comic situations, such as the Mata Ki Jagran, have already been tried and tested as spoofs.
The actors do their best with the script handed out to them, and you cannot really fault their shortcomings in becoming convincing characters. Siddharth Gupta is not very impressive, although his sincerity is evident. Simran Kaur Mundi is slightly irritating, but then again, maybe that is her character. Ashish Juneja is a revelation - he is terrific as the unpredictably predictable Ronnie. And Amit Sial plants himself firmly in the limelight. On the whole, the problem lies, you realise, in the lack of definition in the script, as we said, and not in the talent of these artistes.
Delhi is the backdrop in this story, but then again, you have seen enough movies set there to know that it has its limitations. Or maybe we have not yet been subjected to a better visionary's idea of the city. The production design is average, as is the costume design. They all look authentic enough, but too jaded to create an impression. The cinematography reminds you of television shows, but maybe that is intentional, just to bring to life the monotony of the setting.
The songs are below average. Some are hummable, but nothing stands out. And as for the editing, although there are times when the movie seems to have gone on for quite a while, you cannot find much fault with the pattern.
Apparently, somebody in Bhopal has filed a case against the producers of Kuku Mathur Ki Jhand Ho Gayi, for portraying a certain community in a bad light. Something tells you that this case might be the most exciting thing to have happened to the movie. Watch the film only to figure out if the petitioner has a point, and suddenly, you may just end up seeing this otherwise lifeless fare as an exciting narrative.