Director: Vishal Mishra
Cast: Sunil Grover, Zakir Hussain, Pankaj Tripathi, Dipannita Sharma
The only thing satirical about this comedy is its complete and utter lack of funniness. Not a single joke lands in Coffee With D – not only because the material is tired (Arnab imitators are so out of vogue) and distasteful (“we sent a lady suicide bomber to Delhi, but she got raped instead”), but also because the craft is too fragile to merit a feature-length theatrical release. Every single situation and sorry character radiates the kind of makeshift role-play tackiness and school-stage-level production design conceived by a first-time adult-film director who has forgotten to shoot the romps. As a result, we’re left with a half-made movie with actors who look a bit embarrassed to be involved.
More than being “gutsy”, this effort borders on the realm of alternate reality, with every question from the Bombay riots to Osama’s death and match-fixing reflecting the brash, insensitive opinions of the writers
A hot headed journalist (Sunil Grover; stick to SRK impersonations), who seems intent on forever ruining memories of Tere Bin Laden, comes up with the idea of interviewing gangster Dawood Ibrahim (Zakir Hussain) to rescue his news company from TRP oblivion. He baits the baddie by creating fake videos about his early days, is granted a ‘chat’ in Karachi (a shady Madh island bungalow, from the looks of it) and is later on spurred on by the ‘official ethical code’ of journalism to grill the man harder on camera.
Pankaj Tripathi plays the don’s loyal right-hand, Anjana Sukhani plays Arnab’s pregnant wife, while Dipannita Sharma plays a sultry news-writer who has literally no purpose except showing off considerably tanned skin. The titular conversations lasts for most of the second half, and plays like a juvenile chat between two deluded men in a quarter bar.
We’re left with a half-made movie with actors who look a bit embarrassed to be involved
More than being “gutsy”, this effort borders on the realm of alternate reality, with every question from the Bombay riots to Osama’s death and match-fixing reflecting the brash, insensitive opinions of the writers. Hussain seems to be enjoying himself in the getup, but we’d all be far better off if he wasn’t convinced that a crucial part of D’s gait involves rolling his fingers menacingly as if he shaping a booger. Most of the final portion is bereft of dubbed voices, which is why we see a frantic Grover making this film sound even more idiotic than it is.
The makers would like to have us believe that they are being brave by challenging the aura of D, making a mockery of him, being granted Z-class security due to official threats. I suspect, though, that the only reason they are being threatened is because the bloodthirsty folks in Dubai have always exhibited signs of being movie enthusiasts. And nobody, not even murderous dons and trashy news anchors, can stand such an open and horrid sacrilege of the holy medium. It’s only the first month, and I doubt there can be a more consistently futile Hindi film in 2017.