The ApunKaChoice movie review of Pappu Can't Dance Saala. Even a fine actor gets all knotted up in mediocrity by letting himself be cookie-cut in a mould. And Vinay Pathak, despite his subdued charm and apparent dedication to his art, has revelled time and again in playing a middle-class simpleton out of place in a fast moving world of depravity and degradation. For the umpteenth time, and not to our surprise, he reprises that character in Pappu Can’t Dance Saala, a story about a mismatched couple caught in the vortex of a cruel city.
He plays Vidyadhar, a conservative minded purist who comes from his hometown Banaras to work as a medical representative in Mumbai and ends up renting a flat in a colony exclusive for government employees. To his chagrin, his next door neighbour is Mehek (Neha Dhupia), a loud extrovert who works as a backup dancer in Bollywood and loves partying hard with her huge bunch of friends.
There are instances aplenty when Vidyadhar and Mehek lock in verbal spat but things come to a head when, after a raid by the vigilance department, Mehek lands up at Vidyadhar’s flat and makes it her own. Will these two mutually exclusive individuals make peace and be friends?
Pappu Can’t Dance Saala starts off well and the many run-ins of Vidyadhar with the characters in the city, including a crass food-stall owner (Sanjay Mishra in his elements, again), do bring a stray smile now and then, but the graph dips in the second half when the plot branches out into needless diversions bringing forth an exposé of the exploitative film industry and a simple man’s dejection with a ruthless city. The message, if any intended by director Saurabh Shukla, doesn’t come through, and the film ends up as an unfortunate tangle.
However, credit to Neha Dhupia for a performance that makes you wanna watch her more and more. To Vinay Pathak’s hidebound fogey she stands as a perfect antithesis, a pet peeve who gradually turns into an alter ego. It’s this chemistry between these two actors that makes Pappu Can’t Dance Saala a tolerable watch.
Otherwise, the film has pretty little to offer anything we haven’t seen before.