Ramji Londonwaley is like ghar ka achaar
- all the khushboo
, none of the pretense, and totally authentic ingredients. Now if the audiences don't throng to the theaters in droves, well, people do prefer tandoori murgi
. sometimes. But still, Ramji Londonwaley has its own flavor that those who will watch will testify to.
And Madhavan! If only we saw his welcoming face and charming smile more often on the Hindi screens. Clearly an absolutely natural actor, he emotes and brings about laughs from the audience without seeming to try at all. He just spouts the cleverly written dialogues without unnecessary histrionics, and it is often a lot funnier than the monkey antics of some of our more established comic heroes.
This movie, which is truer to the spirit of Anurag Mathur's The Inscrutable Americans than the eponymously titled movie
was, is the story of a Bihari bawarchi
who is packed off to London to earn the remaining balance of the dowry for his sister's marriage. Madhavan, who plays Ramji, has picked up the Bihari accent so well for this movie, that if you see him in one of the press interviews, he still has the hangover. And you can tell what to expect from the movie.
Well, Ramji lands up at the house of his prospective employer in London, and the fanfare begins when he discovers the man is dead of stomach ulceration after having eaten Ramji's spicy food in India. That's not to say Ramji is a bad cook - just one whose desi, fire-breather recipes require him to be generous with his mirch-masala.
Consequently, he gets kicked out unceremoniously from the funeral and finds himself on the streets. He picks his way around for sometime before, predictably, his money, passport and Visa are stolen. After getting a good taste of the tough life in a phoren
country, Ramji chances upon a kind couple that rescues him and employs him as the cook in their Indian restaurant.
The movie does a hop, skip and jump like a brown hare in a spring field, not pausing to tell a second joke when the first will do, not pausing to cry if a tragedy happens. You feel like you are hearing the story from an excited child who is eager to vomit it all out in one breath.
On the other extreme, there are long periods without jokes, and that's when you can go out to pick up your popcorn and sandwiches, since you know the story won't leave this station too soon.
But for all its confusion on whether to do a hotfoot or a marathon, Ramji Londonwaley keeps bringing in fresh twists that serve to appropriately situate this situational comedy. Sameera, who ends up unintentionally as his love interest, is played by Sameera Bangargi looking svelte in her knitted blouses and pencil skirts. She has a fair part to play, and comes across as a decent actress.
Her Granny, neatly groomed in Rajmata Gayatri Devi style, manages to be cute and funny as the script demands. And the other actors, like the right picture frame, serve to bring out Ramji's character very well.
You don't want to miss this one for its quiet, gurgling jokes; they never get too loud, and yet they make you laugh every single time. And you do get the feeling that only Madhavan could have pulled it off.