Director: Gulshan Singh
Cast: Tarsem Jassar, Nimrat Khaira
Jaspal Singh, a Kanugo meets another Jaspal Singh, a Patwari. The former (Tarsem Jassar) is the protagonist who aims to wed Harman (Nimrat Khaira). Harman’s father rejects the proposal because he believes that a patwari is better off than kanugo because there is a greater opportunity to become rich. And so Jaspal must demote himself to become a patwari. He gets hold of the other Jaspal, pays him well, asks him to have fun in Shimla, and promises to send him monthly payments. What was set up as a unique backdrop to explore the unchartered territory of officialdom and dishonesty among public servants, is reduced to an ordinary, dull comedy.
Tarsem Singh’s Jaspal joins as a patwari in Harman’s village where she is a permanent teacher in the government school. It’s fine till we see the couple exchange love letters and lock eyes, but then Jaila Daaku is introduced before the interval and Afsar goes downhill from there.
In Jaila Daaku we get the most cliched and old fashioned villain from Punjabi cinema. He has three gold plated teeth that stand out each time he lets out his daaku laugh. His three accomplices are also one-dimensional.
The film begins by declaring it is set ‘twenty years ago’. So the mention of IELTS (the English language proficiency test) and characters using Sony noise canceling headphones and smartphones is quite mysterious. The Punjabi industry has reached a critical mass of period dramas, comedies and village movies. Afsar is going to get lost in that mass. It is yet another movie where the lead actors, who are also singers, have tried hard to perform. Gurpreet Ghuggi is impressive as Master Joga Singh, Harman’s colleague. Rishi, Karamjit Anmol and Gurpreet Bhangu provide a welcome breather from the love scenes. The music is below par.
Figuring out the end of this predictable movie is no rocket science. Harman’s father, who feels utter contempt for Jaspal, suddenly accepts him and also gives us a lecture on the importance of being an honest public servant. We didn’t need to endure the whole movie to see this coming.