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Well Done Abba, Indeed !!

March 28, 2010

Originally published on

When you go to watch a Shyam Benegal movie, you expect an earthy approach to film making, excellent characterization supported by equally competent acting and ability to raise an issue in the simplest manner possible. Well Done Abba delivers on all these metrics and leaves you completely satiated.

Well Done Abba is a political satire which covers the rampant corruption in a very  interesting and refreshing way.  ‘Arman Ali’ (Boman Irani) is a driver in Mumbai      and has his family i.e. daughter ‘Muskan’(Minissha Lamba), twin brother ‘Rehman Ali’(Boman Irani)and sister-in-law ‘Salma Ali’ (Ila Arun) in a small village called Chikatpalli near Hyderabad.

Arman Ali returns to his village to arrange his daughter’s marriage and somehow gets influenced into applying for a free well for   his farm through a government scheme. What ensues is a laugh riot showcasing the  redtapism and corruption of government officials.

Arman Ali makes rounds of government offices for getting the free well, where each officer asks for a cut in the scheme money in a unique way. And so happens that Arman Ali is left with nothing in the end. His daughter inspires him to stand up against the corruption and thus Arman Ali sets out to get the free well he was promised.

This plot (corruption) has been dealt with before, but what is important is how beautifully Shyam Benegal has treated it. Benegal has always been a master in projecting the Village life on screen and he does it with panache as proved by his previous film as well ‘Welcome to Sajjanpur’. Again Well Done Abba is ably supported by the witty and hilarious dialogs, which keeps you ribs tickling. Screenplay is crisp.

Movie rolls fast and it doesn’t let your attention slip for a second. The characters have been sketched impeccably and each character leaves a mark in the movie. Although Boman Irani is the lead in the movie, every other character has ample screen space and get to deliver in their roles.

Not too many songs in the movie which is actually good, but whichever are, they afit into the movie and are pertinent. The shadi song is actually very funny.

This movie is all about performances; Benegal again demonstrates that how marvelous he is in extracting the best from his cast.

Boman Irani (Arman & Rehman Ali) – If nothing written above convinces you, then just watch this movie for BomanIrani who has shown before his quest for perfection and versatility. He is fabulous and impressive, playing the humble father (Arman Ali) as well as the Con brother (Rehman Ali), he has played both the characters beautifully by properly differentiating them by body language and voice, simply amazing.. The ease with which he embraces the characters and the hyderabadi accent, is mind blowing. His sense of comic timing is great and he gives you ample reason to laugh in the movie for e.g. when he walks into the engineer (Ravi Kishen) and his wife getting cozy, or when he explains to the contractor the various ways of asking for bribe. He really deserves all the adoration he can get for this role.

Minissha Lamba (Muskan) – Minissha shows prowess as Muskan, who is an independent muslim girl, who stands up against anything wrong.She is a good actress and is not getting the kinda roles where she can show her capability.She plays the part with comfort and does complete justice with her character.

Sameer Dattani (Arif) – A mention for Sameer is necessary here even though his role has nothing spectacular, this guy does well within the limits of his part in the movie.

All character artists Ila Arun, Rajit Kapur, Yashpal Sharma, Ravi Kishen etc. are shining lights in their own small roles and do add to the magnificence of the movie.

Rajit Kapur is convincing as a police officer tormented by his wife for not making money in the lucrative job.

Ravi Kishen is an enginner and a sex addict who is  engaged in sleazy talks wit his wife all the time. Actually these encounters are a low point in the movie, as they are absolutely uncalled for and leave a bitter after taste. Also I didn’t understand why a good actress like Sonali Kulkarni would do a role that had nothing to offer.

Overall a must watch movie for the Midas touch of Shyam Benegal and the sheer mastery of Boman Irani.

I go for a 4/5 for Well Done Abba.

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