My Friend Pinto: Movie Review

[Rating: 1.5]  

Director:  Raaghav Dar

Cast: Prateik, Kalki Koechlin, Divya Dutta, Makrand Deshpande, Arjun Mathur, Raj Zutshi, Shruti Seth   

Synopsis: Michael Pinto is a naïve boy from Goa. He believes in an ideal world and values imbibed by his late mother. Michael lands in Mumbai to meet his childhood friend Sameer after his mother’s demise. Hence unfold the various encounters of the trouble magnet ‘Michael Pinto’ within a span of one night. Will Pinto survive the big bad city or will Mumbai survive Pinto?     

Review: My Friend Pinto is a classic example where a decent enjoyable script fails to translate as an entertaining film on the screen. Though the story is backed by ensemble of characters and elaborate jocular situations, it fails to create magic or even make you chuckle. This would have been a better book/script than a movie.

The film is paced well, leaving apart a few ho-hum moments and a few dull songs. You can’t really put a finger on one thing that went wrong with the film. It’s a flat liner in terms of emotions and you might sit with the same expression throughout the movie.  

What you would like to see from a debutant director is a new perspective, unexplored situations and unperturbed humor. But here Raaghav Dar plays it safe. He brings in familiar ‘Bollywood approved’ characters and situations, which makes this movie worn out.  

‘My Friend Pinto’ turns out to be a friend who tries too hard and cracks stale jokes, leaving the entire group feeling socially awkward. You don’t know if you should laugh & play along or slap some sense into your friend.   

Another movie in recent times, which puts a lot of characters and kooky situations into the mix, was “Delhi Belly”. Not comparing, but where ‘Delhi Belly’ scored by being quirky, witty & fresh, ‘My Friend Pinto’ fizzles out by being caricaturist, cumbersome & stereotypical.   

‘My Friend Pinto’ throws 80’s style, loud, situational humor in your face, but it fails to create laughter. Most situations and some characters can be traced to some or the other Bollywood movie.   

Over all the story does bring in a lot of layers and the climax sees all characters at cross roads, but it totally misses the G spot. 

Prateik (no Babbar) who has been impressive in his previous films plays the gullible character of ‘Michael Pinto’ pretty well. His natural, unorthodox expressions and body language add an innocent vibe. He makes his character quite lovable. He does need some work with his diction and his comic timing. But in this film, his natural soft-spoken personality and his slight lisp add to the character.  

Arjun Mathur plays the character of ‘Sameer’, Pinto’s childhood friend with natural ease. He and Shruti Seth play a young metropolitan couple and share good camaraderie.  

Divya Dutta’s portrayal of an ageing, B grade, alcoholic heroine is quite nice. Makran Deshpande and the Hajee brothers who play Don’s sidekicks ‘Ajay and Vijay’ are decent. Raj Zutshi who plays a deranged aspiring don is loud and adds to the caricature feel of the film.    

You might have noticed, I still haven’t spoken about the heroine of this film Kalki Koechlin. That’s because she has a tiny insignificant role in the film and has approximately 7.5 minutes of screen time. She plays ‘Maggie’, Pinto’s love interest. Duh!  

FYI, There is no Manisha Koirala or Naseeruddin Shan in this movie as popularly rumored. Even they could not have saved this film. None of the characters get scope to let loose and do some uninhibited play. They are pushed into stereotypical performances. 

The Music is mediocre and made to look worse by some untimely songs in the film. The shots were Kalki and Prateik start flying in the night sky, whilst finishing a perfectly normal rain song was very unnecessary.    

The writers got a good structure to the film but lacked backing it with sound dialogues. The dialogues of this film are disappointing, unfunny, and stale. This film could have benefited with clever & witty dialogues leveraging some of the scenes. The film tries too hard and puts everything into the mix i.e a musical vibe to an emotional connect to comedy etc etc. Resulting in a confused unsatisfied audience. Listen to Ranbir Kapoor and “keep it simple, silly!”  

Sanjay Leela Bhansali might not be a happy producer after this one.  

Verdict: ‘My Friend Pinto’ is a friend who exists randomly on your Facebook but you avoid meeting personally. See it only if you have nothing else to do this weekend.

Aditya Gupta

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