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Cast: Paresh Rawal, Rajeev Khandelwal, Tena Desae
Table No. 21 Movie Review:
Over the years, a trend has emerged in Bollywood. While the big production houses go for movies with expansive budgets, reputed filmstars and all-too-often cliched screenplays, the less hyped movies, with lesser names come out with engaging plots and storylines. Off the top of my head, I only remember Barfi as the recent movie with a new imaginative plot. But, here comes the first batch of new-year releases from the industry and my word, does it do well with Table 21!
Rajeev Khandelwal plays the character of a middle-class man, out of job, who has just won a lottery to a vacation in Fiji. Along with his gorgeous wife, with whom he is pretty much in love, he embarks on the journey, where he comes face to face with a man, who calls himself Khan. Khan, played by the ever-dynamic Paresh Rawal, offers the duo a chance to win some big money, he offers them a game of 8 questions, worth 21 crores in total. The catch? You lie, you die! And all of a sudden, the stakes are higher, the movie’s tone is different, and the adrenaline starts to pump.
Revealing anything else about the script would mean spoiling the movie for you, so I won’t get more into the story. However, I cannot stop raving about the script, which in my opinion is one of the finest to have come from Bollywood in recent times. It’s pacy, it’s intricate, and it knows its limitations. That’s what often sets aside the exceptional scripts from the normal ones, and this is where Table 21 excels so emphatically. The movie has none of the ‘Bollywood feel’, it disposes off the only song in the casting itself, before playing another one only in the background at the end. There are no ‘larger-than-life’ dialogues, the ‘shayari’ is kept in check so as to not go overboard, and the game itself is very captivating. This movie has a plot, a quite intricately complex one at that. And at the centre, it has a very very powerful message. Sheer class from the relatively unknown production team.
The acting? Rajeev Khandelwal, who incidentally began with a similarly underrated Aamir, does a good enough job to portray the frustrations of a helpless man. The lovely Tena Desae is a delight to watch, not just for her onscreen presence, but also decent chemistry with the other actors. However, it’s Paresh Rawal, the old wily genius who runs away with the accolades in this department. After Oh My God, here he is again, playing a sadistic twisted villain this time, and I have no words to describe his performance in this one. Paresh Rawal is the Al-Pacino of Bollywood, enough said! His facial expressions, the way his face contorts with rage in one frame, and relaxes the very next, along with the parallel voice modulation he so effectively delivers, must be overwhelming for actors of less pedigree, such is his screen presence!
In short, it’s a terrific movie, with great characters, a gripping story, convoluted plot and great adrenaline rush at times. Go watch this one, if you are sick and tired of the good old Bollywood. It’s a rare gem.
Table No. 21 Movie Trailer