Sulemani Keeda is a romp through the haphazard life of Dulal (Mayank Tewari) and Mainak (Naveen Kasturia), two budding screenwriters with dreams larger than their one-room apartment and wallets thinner than their scripts. Desperate to break into the big bling world of Bollywood, they’re mostly chasing directors and actors to peddle their script. And when they’re not chasing directors, our perennially horny writers are chasing women.
After a break-up with his long-distance girlfriend, Dulal finds solace in the company of Ruma (Aditi Vasudev), a lawyer by profession and a photographer by passion. When they meet, Ruma is about to fly to the States to study photography. Will love take flight too?
The film parallel-y explores the journey of Mainak and Dulal’s professional struggle and the latter’s love life.
The concept isn’t novel but what distinguishes a good film from a great film is its execution. Thankfully, debut director Amit V Masurkar‘s treatment is fresh and eschews clichés. Even the characters subvert tropes, imbuing their parts with a rawness while humanizing their struggles. Their spontaneity, humor, unpredictability make them endearing, believable and their journey easier to connect with. Mayank Tewari (writer and stand-up comic) and Naveen Kasturia (who has previously assisted Dibakar Banerjee) are brilliantly cast. Their timings are impeccable.
They represent the true spirit of a whole class of dreamers who flock to Mumbai only to find that their dreams are one in a million, yet their hope remains unquenchable.
At its core, the film is an anti-romantic comedy, giving us a gritty but humorous look at life behind the silver screen. There’s heartbreak, rejection, existential crises, but it’s all dealt with a light touch, never descending into despair. Its brilliance lies in its ability to take the life of the underdog and make it relatable and humorous without ever turning it into a caricature.
The dialogues are sharp, filled with irreverent humor. Yet, there’s a sense of restraint that prevents it from becoming gratuitously crass. Smart, easy writing, quirky characters and cinematography elevate this film to a cult level in its genre. Cinematographer Surjodeep Ghosh skilfully captures the mood and tenor of the film, aiding the narrative.
Overall, Masurkar’s refreshing and witty slice-of-life film perfectly encapsulates the chaos and charm of chasing an impossible dream. Don’t miss it!