The many characters have so much to tell about their back stories and true emotions that a longer format would have allowed first time Director Seema Pahwa to dig deeper in Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi, observes Joginder Tuteja.
Individual scenes work intermittently in Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi, a film that has a lot of ups and downs in the narrative.
At certain moments, you are engrossed in the proceedings and at others, you keep waiting for some kind of momentum to build in.
In fact, almost until the halfway point of the film, there is no story.
At best, it turns out to be an anecdotal account with several family members coming together at the ancestral house of Ram Prasad (Naseeruddin Shah), a musician based in Lucknow, who died due to old age.
Four brothers (Manoj Pahwa, Vinay Pathak, Ninad Kamat and Parambrata Chattopadhyaya) come from different parts of the country to meet their mother (Supriya Pathak).
Everyone has their own tale to tell.
Manoj, the eldest of the lot, is rather relaxed in his middle class bearings, though he can't do without his daily dose of dawaai (read, alcohol) and even carnal desires till the tehrvi.
Vinay is under-confident after failing in multiple businesses and is now eyeing the pushtaini shop, which also turns out to be mortgaged.
Ninad is a bit sorted, though he has an inferiority complex of being a ghar jamaai and also being 'unwanted' as he is a manjhla, meaning a child who happened by 'accident'.
Parambrata is the most well to do amongst the brothersd. He is also his mother's laadla. He is based in Mumbai while supporting his wife in her endeavour to be an actress.
Amongst the women, those who have the most substantial parts to play are Deepika Amin (the eldest bahu) and Konkona Sen Sharma (the youngest).
The former is mature while the latter is vulnerable.
Vikrant Massey arrives on the scene with his raging hormones that do not differentiate between the pados ki ladki whom he has just met and a member of the family which could lead to incest.
Wait, there is more.
There are at least half a dozen more prominent characters who are the mamas and buas and dadis, making this 13-day ritual a roller coaster ride.
No, skeletons do not fall out of the closet, but pent up feelings are unleashed, resulting in some not-so-comfortable conversations between the family members.
For first-time Director Seema Pahwa, it must have been quite a task to stitch together so many characters with their quirks, personality traits and background stories in a 100 minute film.
With so many actors out there, scenes stay superficial most of the time. Just when you start getting to a character, the film moves to another, and while you get start getting invested there, the focus shifts again.
The film's pace remains slow.
The camera movements are laidback as per the setting of the plot and the boring music doesn't help either.
Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi could have made a better Web series rather than a film.
The many characters have so much to tell about their back stories and true emotions that a longer format would have allowed Seema Pahwa to dig deeper.
As someone who has seen life and its many colours up, close and personal, with a more in-depth story at her disposal, she would have been able to do a better job.
There are hints of that at many junctures, especially when the women of the house come together for their gossip sessions even in the midst of all the sorrow.
The emotions are captured quite well with a typical Ayodhya/Faizabad mood and flavour.
The small town mindset is well portrayed and the dialogues feel life-like.
Simple gestures make for an enjoyable viewing and this is the reason why when not all the characters are fleshed out well and the film comes to an abrupt end, you end up feeling that this is a film that could have been so much better.