Pradeep Sarkar carved a niche with his directorial debut Parineeta but his reputation took a beating with his second venture, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. That was one of the two reasons as to why everyone is so skeptical about Lafangey Parindey. The second reason being, Lafangey Parindey seems so different from Sarkar’s kind of cinema. The promos showed Mumbai, its gritty streets, chawls, boxing, dance and skating…something which is surely isn’t his forte. But surprise! Lafangey Parindey turns out to be a neat film! Pradeep Sarkar handles it very well and is surely worth the 250 bucks ticket!

The story of the movie: Nandu (Neil Nitin Mukesh) is a street fighter who has a unique way of fighting with his opponents-blindfolded. Confident, charming and carefree…he lives a content life fighting and roaming with his chawl friends. In the same chawl lives Pinky Palkar (Deepika Padukone). She works at a mall but can wonderfully dance on skates and dreams of winning a reality show. One rainy night, hell breaks loose as Nandu has a dreadful experience. On the same night, Pinky loses her eyesight in an accident. Fate brings them together and how Nandu and Pinky teach each other lessons of life is what the film is all about.

You fall for Lafangey Parindey in the intro scene itself (Nandu explaining his fighting strategy). Nandu’s interaction with Anna (Kay Kay Menon) and the accident takes the film higher and higher! Especially the accident sequence was nicely executed (by showing it in 2 different ways). It also adds a nice surprise in the narrative. The scene thereafter right till the intermission keep you hooked thanks to interesting sequences and a fast-paced narrative! In short, the first half is just awesome!

Post-interval, the film tries to maintain the flow but gets dragging at places. Also Neil’s dance was weird in the elimination round sequence. Perhaps he could have worked better at his moves. The writer could have added some more turns towards the finale. But that would have not only increased the length of the film but also could have failed. Hence he kept it simple but at the same time predictable. Thankfully it works but also reminds you of the climax of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi! Nevertheless, overall the film turns out to be a decent attempt!

Neil Nitin Mukesh was a surprise for such a role. But he does total justice to it and although he doesn’t look like a chawl guy, his terrific performance compensates for it. The actor will soon be seen in 2 exciting films-Vishal Bhardwaj’s Saat Khoon Maaf and Abbas-Mustan’s The Italian Job remake! Way to go NNM!

Deepika Padukone is undoubtedly the best performer in the film! Her dance, mannerisms, expressions and her beautiful smile…everything about her shall leave you spellbound! Another amazing performance from an amazing actor! Piyush Mishra was great no doubt but he doesn’t leave a mark as he did in Tere Bin Laden and Gulaal. Manish Choudhary was decent as the cop. Namit Das who played Ranbir’s pal in Wake Up Sid was too good. So was Palomi. Kay Kay Menon has a special appearance in the film and nice to see him after a long time. Others were good.

M Anandh’s music wasn’t outstanding but made for decent listening. The title song was the best song of the lot followed by Man Lafanga and Nain Parindey. Zubin Balaporia’s background music was perfect. N Nataraja Subramaniam’s cinematography was as usual excellent. Sanjib Datta’s editing works especially in the beginning scenes. Sham Kaushal’s action was terrific and very realistic. Bosco Caesar and Sandro Guerra, the choreographers do a great job and they contribute in the film’s success considering that dance and skates have an important role in the film.

Newbie Gopi Puthran has written the story, screenplay and dialogues and has excelled in all 3! Story was novel but it’s the screenplay that is really terrific. Dialogues seem very real for the setting of the film.

Finally Pradeep Sarkar springs a surprise! He enters a new territory but does an exceptional job! Good to see that he’s back in form and hoping that his next film, too, would work!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1.       The first scene
2.       Nandu with Anna
3.       Pinky’s accident
4.       The song Nain Parindey
5.       Nandu trains Pinky
6.       The intermission point
7.       Nandu puts on the skates for the first time
8.       The cop’s investigation
9.       Nandu and Pinky watching movie (hilarious!)
10.     The last 15 minutes

On the whole, Lafangey Parindey is a great attempt and succeeds in impressing. Surely worth putting your money for! At the box office, it has all the time upto the release of We Are Family (September 2) to rule and emerge as a hit!

My rating-*** ½ out of 5!