We’re all familiar with the story (or shall we say, legend) of Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava. Better known as Natwarlal, the con-man repeatedly "sold" the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort and the Rashtrapati Bhavan. But that’s in the past. Now, Raja Natwarlal shows us the making of the modern-day Natwarlal.

The film starts off when Raja (Emraan Hashmi) and his partner-in-crime, Raghav (Deepak Tijori), find themselves in deep trouble. The duo, who have unknowingly robbed Varda Yadav (Kay Kay Menon), must now pay the price. When Yadav’s hitmen kill his partner (in crime), Raja takes it upon himself to avenge his death. For this, he seeks out Yogi (Paresh Rawal), an expert at long cons. The film follows their attempt to avenge Raghav’s death, with a little bit of help from their friends.

The film’s strongest point is its casting. Each of the actors is perfectly-suited to the character they’re portraying. Though some performances are stronger than others, there are none that feel forced or unconvincing.

Paresh Rawal is the real star of the film. Inspite of the writing being thoroughly average, he delivers each dialogue with an unmatched charm. With every dialogue, the actor reminds us exactly why we love watching him. Emraan Hashmi comes a close second, as the street-smart con-man trying to pull off a long con smoothly. The duo share a rapport that makes even the filler scenes watchable. Though the other actors are good too, they’re criminally-underutilized. In fact, even the leading lady (played by Humaima Malik) serves as little more than eye candy.

All the performances in the film are worth noting, but they are crippled by the lack of an original script. The film features its fair share of twists and turns, which are too few and far between to make an impact. Moreover, the premise and the plot are far too reminiscent of other con films. The feeling of déjà vu is worsened by the fact that most of those other movies have been much more entertaining.

When Yogi teaches Raja the tricks of the trade, he tells him that the first step is to have the target hooked. This is exactly what the first-half of the film does. It reels you in, only to cut the string in the second-half. Even the climax of the film, which shows us exactly how the con worked, fails to make up for the lackluster second-half. This is what keeps the movie from being truly entertaining.

Why should you watch this film?
Watch Raja Natwarlal for the performances. Though the film is nothing to write home about, the actors’ wonderful portrayals make it worth watching. Additionally, this movie is a nice break from all the heavy-duty action films that have been ruling the box office lately. If you’re looking for something different, watch Raja Natwarlal. However, don’t go in expecting too much, unless you want to be disappointed.

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