Film: 'Sunday'; Cast: Ajay Devgan, Ayesha Takia, Irrfan Khan, Arshad Warsi; Director: Rohit Shetty; Rating: **
Staying sassy, staying clever and staying steps ahead of the viewers, 'Sunday' is a fiesta of scenes stitched together to create a harmony of hilarity.
If being clever with the suspense element within the comic format is the hallmark of a workable film, then 'Sunday' works.
Pieced together as a bizarre day in the life of a forgetful frisky fey fraulein called Saher (superbly sparkling Ayesha Takia), the format of narration is as old as the hills or as old as Orson Welles' 'Citizen Kane', where a journalist went door to door trying to piece together the mysterious life of a dead star.
If Heath Ledger were Takia, 'Sunday' would be the fun version of 'Citizen Kane'.
There's a dead girl at the beginning of this pulverized plot to make you believe there's life beyond farce in the comic genre. She's shot down point-blank.
Saher suffers from amnesia as she gets embroiled in what seems to be a denouement reached in a narrative relay race where every character holds the key to the girl's mysterious whereabouts on that fitful Sunday.
What lifts the rather involved plot is the insouciant spirit. Everyone is running helter-skelter down the road of parodic perdition with the purpose of getting to the home base so the plot wears a harnessed homogenized feel about it. Some of the comic bustle, like Irrfan as Ravan running after a speeding car on the highway, is quite remarkable. Others are not quite the epitomes of satire but are tolerable.
Cinematographer Aseem Bajaj captures Delhi with luminosity. The bustle of the capital is capitalised upon in a climate of comic nonchalance. And yet we get the touristy spots, especially the Lal Quila, with the fresh enthusiasm of seasoned travellers exploring known territory with virgin enthusiasm.
The narration is tightly wound. Director Rohit Shetty avoids the inherent silliness of the comic genre.
What happened to silly Saher or Sunday night? Do we really care? No, but the chase has its moments of humour and this comedy is way ahead of the all-boys raunchy material that has been masquerading as genuine mirth in recent times.
The campy humour includes a taxi driver (Arshad Warsi) and a hammy struggling actor (Irrfan Khan) who get embroiled in Saher's Sunday-evening suspense. Warsi and Khan make the proceedings more perky, bubbly and frothy than what the plot would have been in other, less capable hands.
Blessedly, there is no dearth of talent in this comedy of terrors. Even the usually ferocious Mukesh Tiwari, as the corrupt cop's sidekick, gets in his satirical two-bit sideways. Then there's a gangster with a squeaky voice who chases Takia so hard you fear for his knees.
Takia has a breathless personality, here used to advantage as she goes through some endearing moments as a dubbing artiste who forgot to dub the lines of her life one Sunday.
As for Devgan playing the eminently corrupt cop, you can't bribe the audience into buying his attempts at the funny stuff.
Director Rohit Shetty gives us more reason to be happy than any other recent comedy. Which is not to say that 'Sunday' is a hilarious romp. It evokes occasional giggles and spurts of laughter while eliciting some admiration for its unusual editing patterns.