‘Condom’ is still a dirty word, hush-hush and never to be uttered in the public space.
Manokamna aka Manu (Nushrratt Bharuccha) has the same how-could-you reaction when she’s offered a job to sell the under-the-table product. But an attractive pay cheque from the owner of Little Umbrella and anything to keep an arranged marriage at bay add up to make up her mind.
Except that when her small town in Madhya Pradesh learns of what she’s selling, everybody is aghast. Especially her father-in-law (Vijay Raaz) who’s standing for elections and wants her to quit. Until it reaches breakpoint in her marriage to Ranjan (Anud Singh Dhaka), a love match by the way.
But a tragedy has firmed up Manu’s belief that a message on condoms, contraception, abortion and safe sex make hers an imperative social mission.
Writer Raaj Shandilyaa, with the success of Dream Girl behind him, has a flair for punchlines. And he (along with writer Yusuf Ali Khan) packs it in with comic lines, the very word condom opening the door to adult humour.
Punchlines and performances keep the mission brimming especially in the first half. The frivolous and the substantial are aced by Nushrratt Bharuccha while Vijay Raaz, marvellous at bringing an undertone of humour into the serious, stands tall as the father-in-law who must be taught a lesson. Anuj Singh Dhaka is comfortable as husband Ranjan. Paritosh Tripathi as a friend who has a one-way romance with Manu, Brijendra Kala as the boss of Little Umbrella and sundry family members contribute to the general feeling that this is entertainment. Like Manu’s sisters-in-law who crack boudoir jokes.
A woman on a mission is the flavour of the season, so there will be applause for Manu.
But the shock value of condoms, the sneakiness around the product and the ultimate social message have already been delivered in films like Helmet. So that territory isn’t untrodden.
Also, the writers and director Jai Basantu Singh don’t go beyond their stock of punchlines as Manu’s mission, a half-hearted husband, and the way all problems are resolved, bullock cart the pace.
So go in strictly only for the laughs.
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