Friday, November 14, 2008 15:51 IST
By Santa Banta News Network
Rating: ***

Years ago, Hrishikesh Mukherjee's ANAND narrated an interesting tale of a man living his life to the fullest, despite being well aware of his impending death. Dasvidaniya, directed by debutante Shashant Shah, narrates a similar tale.

Here, the protagonist, well aware that the clock is ticking, intends realising his 'Top 10 things to do before I die' list.

Bears an uncanny resemblance to THE BUCKET LIST (2007; Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman)? Slightly perhaps, but that could be coincidental. What makes Dasvidaniya watchable for the Indian viewer is the fact that it portrays the emotions of a common man really well. You identify with the person and the pain he goes through.

Sensitively treated with a bravura act by Vinay Pathak, Dasvidaniya makes you smile at several points, even shed tears (the emotional quotient is quite strong), but most importantly, reiterates the fact that life's a bubble that can burst any time.

However, there's a flip side as well. For, the film has an erratic pace and not all chapters are as interesting. That dilutes the impact to an extent!

Shy and quiet Amar (Vinay Pathak) lives a mundane, run-of-the-mill life. His existence is non-existent to people around him. His innocence and obsession for making his daily 'To-Do-List' every morning is what motivates him to look forward to the next day.

Then, one day, a doctor tells him that he will die within three months. He is diagnosed with cancer. Thus begins a journey of a lifetime for Amar, where he sets out to write his final list. The 10 things to do before he dies.

A simple plot is treated with a lot of sensitivity by debutante director Shashant Shah. Watch Vinay finally mustering up courage and confronting his boss (Saurabh Shukla). It brings a smile on your face. Watch Vinay express his love for Neha on a rainy night.

The silence speaks a million words. Watch Vinay go through a traumatic time when he overhears the conversation between Rajat Kapoor and his wife Suchitra Pillai. And, finally, when he meets his brother Gaurav Gera.

If the story strikes a chord, Shashant's execution of the material is incredible at times. But writer Arshad Syed's script could've been tighter.

It has some great moments, but a few portions (the story of the Russian girl and also the guitar teacher) aren't convincing. However, the dialogues are wonderful. They sound so fresh. Music is functional, although 'Mumma' is soothing.

Vinay Pathak carries the film on his able shoulders and delivers a matchless performance. At par with his amazing work in BHEJA FRY. The film has a number of characters that stand out: Saurabh Shukla (excellent), Rajat Kapoor (good), Ranvir Shorey (quite funny), Neha Dhupia (perfect), Sarita Joshi (proficient) and Gaurav Gera (nice).

On the whole, Dasvidaniya is engrossing in parts. While the first hour works well, it's the second part that turns pale due to its slow pacing and a not-as-tight screenplay. Sure, the film has the merits, but it will have to rely on a strong word of mouth to stay afloat.
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