Director: Nikhil Bhat

Cast: Arjun Mathur, Nidhi Singh, Sheetal Thakur

In Brij Mohan Amar Rahe, the titular character, played by Arjun Mathur, is a total jerk. He is a small-time businessman who cheats on his wife (Nidhi Singh), fakes his own death, kills two people (accidentally), and is generally just an annoyingly incompetent person. He is still the most likeable character in a film teeming with people – from the wife to the cop to the judge – that are shamelessly amoral. The setting is lower middle class Delhi, and the women are sexually bold. This is great, on paper, for they subvert the traditions of Hindi mainstream cinema; no righteous heroism bordering-on-sexist business here, no demure wife, and this isn’t one of those glossed-over urban romances led by star-kids. Therefore, it’s doubly frustrating that Nikhil Bhat’s film – which had a straight-to-Netflix release last Friday – is hard to sit through.

Everything, from the abuses and the violence, to the songs and the sex, seem to be for effect. The fact that Brij Mohan runs a lingerie store in Lajpat Nagar should have a bearing on his character – at one point, someone taunts him as a “bra panty waala” – but is just used as a prop to up the sex-quotient of the film; other irrelevant things include Brij Mohan giving us the stats for the percentage of women in India who have sex fully naked. Brij Mohan… goes out of its way to come across as ‘quirky’ – which is most evident in its repeated, ironic usage of 80s-90s Bollywood songs in the soundtrack.

The result feels like a film that was made not because the director had an irresistible itch to tell the story but because crime capers based in North India, filled with sex and swear words, are supposed to be cool and saleable.

Watch the trailer here:

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