Women power makes this flight a laugh riot

Women empowerment. This all-lady crew is at one level a recognition of the legitimate space for women. Interestingly, it is not a film that eulogises the status of women as a mother, sister, sacrificial lamb, doormat and other stereotypes. From Devika Rani and Nadia to Nargis, Meena Kumari, Nutan to Sharmila Tagore, Zeenat Aman, Madhuri Dixit, Kajol to the present is often a case of step forward and two in the reverse. Kareena did a film on woman-space — even earlier in ‘Veere Di Wedding’ and dealt with her professional space in ‘Ki & Ka’. So has Tabu done herself and given the cause its periodic nudges. Kriti Sanon as a surrogate mother pressed her case and credentials and is slowly laying her claim on proper attention and not just eyeballs. Apart from the fact that the film recognises space for women, its stance in showing them as fun-loving and willing to twist the law opens up new parameters of woman space in our cinema.

The film begins with Customs sub-inspector Mala (Tripti Khamkar) taking into custody three air hostesses Geetha Sethi (Tabu), Jasmine (Kareena) and Divya Rana (Kriti Sanon) as suspects. For a good part of the narrative, it is not known what they are suspected of, or detained for. The three air hostesses work for a dying airline — Kohinoor Airlines. The airlines is headed by Vijay Walia (Saswata Chatterjee). No marks for guessing which airlines and which Vijay. As if there was a need to probe, the red uniform is all-telling. Geetha Sethi knows that she is working for a crumbling employer. Depleting resources and a constant eye on her Provident Fund does not stop her domestic happiness with partner chef Arun Sethi (Kapil Sharma). Geetha has started off as a beauty queen but hasn’t moved very far and ended up as a senior member of the airline crew. Jasmine is the smart alec who always wanted to be a CEO and has no qualms about snatching costly items from wherever she can. Divya also has problems of poverty, with an ambition to be a pilot. She lies to her parents that she is a pilot while she is an airhostess. The three therefore have reasons to fly higher than merely fly. By accident, they realise that a regular passenger is smuggling gold at the instance of their manager Manoj Mittal (Rajesh Sharma). Tempted to make quick money, placed alongside need, the three take to it and succeed till the law catches up with them, or nearly does. Divya for all her lies encourages Jalveer Singh (Diljit Dosanjh) and exploits his naivety.

Rajesh A. Krishnan, the film-maker, chooses a reasonably impish, fun-filled script. He works around the infamous airline without having to moralise on the issues involved. The premise and the verve of the principal characters is interestingly established and executed till half-time. It is the post-interval treatment that lacks punch and credibility. Krishnan seems to wake up to lost time and is in a hurry to give closure. The celebrations abroad, the re-employment of the crew in the hotel and how they carry off the coup are too flimsy and do not carry sufficient humour punch to justify the flippance.

Saswata Chatterjee as Walia is woefully inadequate. He does not impress at all. Maybe because the film-maker does not invest in the character and pushes by the repute of the original character rather than independently establish one. Kapil Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh, both very subtle actors, present their presence without much ado. It is an interesting piece of casting. It gives space to mainstream actors who have the requisite talent. Rajesh Sharma is adequate. Special mention should be made about Tripti Khamkar who is very good except for one scene when she is made to go overboard.

This Nidhi Nehra-Mehul Suri script focuses on the three main women characters. Sometimes choice is a job half-done. When the choice is perfect, the task is nearly done. It is noteworthy that Tabu walks the thin line of hesitant enjoyment with perfection. It needed an actor of her calibre and does she deliver. Kareena Kapoor understands the nuances of humour. From the ‘Poo’ girl to the umph girl, she’s done it all. There is a live wire spirit in the actress that is a needed essential to her Jasmine. Kriti Sanon who till the other day looked like a work in progress has suddenly blossomed. The very courage to join cinematic space with the unquestionable Tabu and the fizz-filled Kareena is an announcement of confidence. This is matched with performance.

Women empowerment is certainly shown when Kareena performs the last rites or when Tabu takes on the mantle of the family to support the dream of her father. There are moments in the film that go over the top, particularly the climax which is very unconvincing and does not bring with it much laughter.

“Fend for yourself” is a critical decision that the threesome takes. An interesting step forward. To an audience that often does not expect much, this two-hour nothing film is a short distance flight, if nothing, worth the take.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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