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October 15, 1999


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A Mast See!

Faisal Shariff

Urmila and Aftab in Mast Yes, a must see. If not for the storyline, if not for Urmila Matondkar, if not for the music, then because most of us, somewhere within, nurture this secret fantasy of realising our wildest dreams. And that is what Mast is all about. Realising a dream.

In an interview with, Ramgopal Varma confessed he was inspired by his personal infatuation with Sridevi in his younger days. There actually is a cameo scene where a rickshaw driver arrives in Bombay in search of Sridevi and, when he learns of the truth, curses Boney Kapoor till kingdom come.

As for the story, it's something like this...

Krishna Kant aka Kittu (Aftab Shivdasani), a final year student in Pune, belongs to the quintessential happy family -- an affectionate mother, a sensitive father and an inquisitive, but adorable, sister. He is madly in love with a famous filmstar, Mallika (Urmila). And, as a result of this obessive fascination, he fails his exams.

Urmila in Mast After another song and dance dream sequence, his father, in a fit of rage, storms into Kittu's room and tears every Mallika poster in it into bits. Fuming at this sacrilege, Kittu walks out on his family and catches a train to Bombay. Of course, ticketless.

He somehow reaches Mallika's house, but is forced to return with nary a glimpse of his cherished idol. Kittu finds refuge in a café, run by Usmaan Bhai (Neeraj Vora), right next to Mallika's mansion.

The entry of the support cast at this stage really livens the movie. Their theatrics, with some help from Aati kya Khandala Nitin Raikawar, add an element of humour to a film that keep threatening to get serious. The Chiku Mhatre scene, in particular, is rib-tickling.

Anyway, coming back to the boy from Pune who landed empty-handed at Bombay's railway station, he begins to wear expensive, branded T-shirts everyday and, for reasons unknown, is treated like a king by the owner of the café.

Kittu, in subsequent reels, goes on to find out that is that his fair lady is mistreated by an evil uncle who seems to have complete control over her. He somehow manages to get into her house, witnesses a torture session and knocks the wicked uncle out. Kittu then convinces Mallika that he is her one true saviour.

Aftab and Urmila in Mast If you think the plot sounds unconvincing, you have to see the movie to realise how smoothly the director pulls it off.

Aftab is a major disappointment, all sound and no fury. Varma had said he was looking for someone with a dreamy look. Something that Aftab seems to have taken a little too seriously. He banks too much on his cute looks and fails to create the contrast between Kittu, the kid next door, and Mallika, the star.

In contrast, Urmila seems to be improving with every film. She looks fresh and, though her character is not taut, she carries it off well. But because Urmila is from the film industry, it becomes a little difficult to accept her as a terrorised actress.

The surprise package of the movie is Nisha (Antra Mali), Kittu's childhood friend who is madly in love with him. Her confidence is amazing and her performance, outstanding. Though, she does not have a meaty role, she holds her own and leaves a lasting impression. Varma once again succeeds in creating characters who score over his main star cast.

Sandeep Chowta's music is like the curate's egg, good in parts but a disappointment on the whole. The title song, voiced by Sandeep Chowta, just fails to match Aftab's character. Ruki ruki thi zindagi is the only other hummable number in the film.

Urmila and Aftab in Mast Manish Malhotra might walk away with the Best Dress Designer's trophy yet again, but what we see in the movie are designer labels; DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, vagera. Which makes one wonder -- where is the designing?

The dance sequences in the film are well picturised; the title song, in particular, stands out.

Dalip Tahil does a neat job as Kittu's father and amuses with his hidden fixation for Rekha, highlighted towards the end when the camera pans to a picture of Rekha hidden in his wardrobe. The movie climaxes with proverbial twists, but still keeps one interested all the way. As for the end, you have to see it to believe it. It's a Mast end!

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