Tag Archives: Mere Dad Ki Maruti

Movie Review: Mere Dad Ki Maruti (2013)

mere-dad-ki-maruti2.5 Stars (out of 4)

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Product placement plays an integral part in how movies are financed these days. Artful product placement in a film showcases the sponsored wares in a way that is obvious but unobtrusive. The product placement in Mere Dad Ki Maruti (“My Dad’s Maruti“) is gratuitous, as though the movie is really one long commercial for an automobile.

The overt commercialism is a shame, because Mere Dad Ki Maruti (MDKM, henceforth) is a pretty good movie. Created by Y-Films to appeal to a young adult audience, writer-director Ashima Chibber’s plot draws inspiration from a number of ’80s comedies, particularly Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The story is familiar but fresh, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

The story centers on Sameer (Saqib Saleem), an immature college student caught up in preparations for his older sister’s wedding. As the movie begins, a brand new Maruti — an Indian subsidiary of Suzuki — has arrived in the family’s driveway. Sameer assumes the car is meant for him, until his short-tempered father, Tej (Ram Kapoor), explains that it is a gift for Sameer’s soon-to-be brother-in-law, Raj (Karan Mehra). Tej says that if Sameer wants a car, he needs to earn it by being responsible, like Raj.

Quickly forgetting his father’s rebuke, Sameer “borrows” the car to impress a girl, Jazzleen (Rhea Chakraborty). Their first date is a success, until Sameer hands the car keys to a man he mistakes for a valet. The car goes missing, and Sameer resorts to increasingly ridiculous means to replace it, aided by his level-headed best friend, Gattu (Prabal Panjabi).

Both the structure and themes of MDKM are familiar. There’s an emphasis on personal responsibility, familial love, and the bonds of friendship. Sameer and Gattu make a great comic team, and Jazzleen is a welcome addition when she’s finally let in on the secret.

In fact, the movie has a lot of really funny moments. The highlight is a dance performance Sameer’s sister, Tanvi (Benazir Shaikh), dedicates to Raj, in order to convey her unspoken feelings for him. However, her feelings border on X-rated, making for an awkward performance in front of the whole family.

For all that MDKM has going for it, it’s impossible to overlook the its crass commercialism. I’m not sure how much Maruti paid Y-Films for titular product placement rights, but it had to be a lot. There are songs and speeches dedicated to Maruti, even a musical montage in which Sameer and his family fold down the sedan’s back seats to make room for all the luggage they need for an overnight trip.

The most reprehensible scene takes place in a Maruti showroom, where Sameer and Gattu inquire about buying a replacement for the car they lost. The model they want is over their meager student budgets, but the salesman explains what great value you get for the money: comfortable seating for seven, plenty of trunk space, and two engine options. If you come in for a test drive, you might even win a car. Wow!

This sales pitch would be tacky in any movie, but the fact that this film is aimed at young people makes it reprehensible. Y-Films should be embarrassed to stoop this low. What’s next, an animated movie for preschoolers, starring Kool-Aid Man?

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Opening June 7: Yamla Pagla Deewana 2

The comedy sequel Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 opens in Chicago area theaters on June 7, 2013. I wasn’t crazy about the first one, and the guy in the orangutan suit in the trailer doesn’t give me much hope for the second.

YPD2 opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 30 min.

After posting massive first weekend returns of $1,568,677 in the U.S., Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani carries over at all of the above theaters, plus the Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Iddarammayilatho (Telugu) at the Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge and at the Golf Glen 5, which is also showing Ladies and Gentlemen (Malayalam) and Prema Katha Chitram (Telugu).

Bonus streaming video news: Mere Dad Ki Maruti is now available for streaming on Netflix.

In Theaters March 15, 2013

Update: The new release 3G is currently available on Eros Now not only to subscribers but on a 48-hour rental basis for $1.99. However, due to rights restrictions, the film isn’t available online in India, Pakistan, Burma, Fiji, UAE, Mauritius, Kenya, or South Africa.

Uh-oh. This is the second weekend in a row with no new Hindi movies opening in Chicago area theaters. The absence of Jolly LLB isn’t a surprise, but I expected Y-Films’ Mere Dad Ki Maruti to release here. I’m still hopeful that we’ll get the Bipasha Basu horror flick Aatma next week, but there’s a chance Chicago area Bollywood fans will have to go without until Himmatwala debuts on March 29.

The good news is that Eros Now subscribers can watch 3G on the streaming service starting this Friday, March 15, the same day that it opens in India. That bad news for Neil Nitin Mukesh fans is that the failure of 3G to get a large roll out on the heels of a very small U.S. release of David last month seems to definitively rule him out as a bankable international leading man. I expect we won’t see much of him in The States in the future outside of roles in ensemble pictures like 7 Khoon Maaf.

In the meantime, Kai Po Che! — which has earned $1,013,738 from three weeks in U.S. theaters — carries over for a fourth week at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville.

The Golf Glen 5 is also holding over The Attacks of 26/11 for a third week, as well as Back Bench Student (Telugu), Paradesi (Tamil), and Romans (Malayalam).