Review: An unlikely friendship between two aging and lonely people is a familiar premise. Earlier this year, Neena Gupta (who plays Prakash Kaur here) was seen with Anupam Kher in Shiv Shastri Balboa, which had a similar theme. IN Mast Mein Rehne Ka, she plays a fiery and full of life Punjabi woman who strikes a chord with a 75-year-old socially awkward Kamath (Jackie Shroff). Apart from being widowed and lonely, they have one thing in common – a petty thief, Nanhe (Abhishek Chauhan), breaks into their houses and steals money and valuables.
Once the duo become friends, crazy antics ensue. Kamath tells her about his ritual, which he calls an ‘investigation’. He follows and learns about the routines of lonely people in the hope of getting to know them, but never strikes up a conversation. The two team up and sneak into houses to drink and dine the evening away. But their friendship has a deeper meaning – they support each other emotionally.
Apart from being a tale of friendship, writer-director Vijay Maurya and writer Payal Arora’s story is about the struggle to survive in Mumbai, which brings out the animal in each of us. As life throws curveballs at Nanhe after he loses his job at a tailor shop, he meets a beggar, Rani (Monika Panwar), and love blossoms between them. An incident brings Nanhe face to face with Kamath and Prakash again, which becomes a turning point in their stories.
The striking thing about the film is how bittersweet both narratives are. An interesting parallel is drawn between Prakash-Kamath and Nanhe as they break into houses for different reasons, making one less moral than the other.
Jackie Shroff and Neena Gupta shine as individual performers but also have great chemistry on screen. Their casual conversations, such as about body hair, are as funny as the deep ones are heartwarming – Kamath compares his solitary existence to the waves of the ocean crashing against rocks. Jackie is excellent in a scene towards the end where he has a monologue comparing human life to a video game. Abhishek Chauhan also delivers a great performance, but it’s Monika Panwar who really shines. She is fiercely independent and cheeky, but has her heart in the right place. She is unwavering in commanding respect and is unapologetic about her life choices. However, the surprise package is Rakhi Sawant in a cameo as Bilqis, aka Bimla. She is a tamer version of her off-screen persona, but gives a remarkable performance as a choreographer.
The film is slow at first and takes its time to capture you completely. The narrative also takes liberties and is not convincing in some parts. But this story of new chances and camaraderie will warm your heart and is not to be missed.