'Coffee With D' - Movie Review

Jan 20, 2017, 08:27 IST | Mayank Shekhar

If you didn't know this about him already, news anchor Arnab is pretty much a rock-star in this film. And I mean the actual Arnab, of the nightly News-hour fame

'Coffee With D'
U/A: Comedy/ Journalism
Director: Vishal Mishra
Cast: Sunil Grover, Zakir Hussain, Anjana Sukhani
Rating:  

If you didn't know this about him already, news anchor Arnab is pretty much a rock-star in this film. And I mean the actual Arnab, of the nightly News-hour fame. Except the fellow playing him here (Sunil Grover) seems to be struggling with ratings at the moment, since his rants have become rather passé.

Here's what Arnab does to push up ratings, given that he's going to be sacked from the prime-time slot and demoted to host a cookery show now - how that can ever happen is not the sort of question one must ask the filmmakers, who know as little about the basics of journalism as about filmmaking itself.

Arnab decides to troll the dreaded Dawood Ibrahim, through his show and on social media, running fake stories, about how the Mafia don used to steal vegetables, harass women etc... just so that D, as it were, can invite him over for an exclusive interview. Really? But hey, that's not what's interesting. I'm still fixated on Arnab. As is this film. So anchor Arnab, who works in an office with three key people in it, including him - a heckler for a chief editor, and a fashion journalist - needs help with the script for his Dawood interview.

He approaches the fashion journo, of course, who's also the best "news writer". She instantly strips at the mere sight of him. He sits there being nonchalant about her move. He asks her to script his interview. She says yes, but on one condition, "Interview ke baad, I want you for one night!" He thinks, hard, and finally relents: "Jaan toh daav par laga hi chuka hoon. Izaat bhi sahi (My neck is already on the line, may as well lose self-respect!" Well, that scene sums up this movie more than anything else will. What the nation wants to know is not why anybody would make this film-well, it's a free country. What I want to know is why the hell was I so excited about this? Couple of reasons.

One, it seemed like a film that could be derived very well from at least two pictures from my favourite genres - "junkie" in a guilty pleasure kinda way, that would be Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's 'The Interview' (2014); and journalism, hence Ron Howard's 'Frost/Nixon' (2008). There's also the lead actor, Sunil Grover, a class-act impersonator. In my view, he is the most talented man on Indian TV. And to top that, the film is centred on Dawood, who lends himself so beautifully to fiction as if he was a fictional character himself. Zakir Hussain plays Dawood, wearing dark glasses, even a rose-tinted one, like Rishi Kapoor in 'D-Day', and a thick, black moustache, as if the dreaded Mafiosi must have frozen in age since the camera spotted him at a Sharjah cricket match in 1987!

What do we learn about Dawood, thanks to 'Coffee With D'? That he diverted the Malaysian Airline Flight 370, because he was travelling from KL to Karachi, but the flight itself was headed to Beijing. He just landed the plane in his house, and the missing passengers are now his servants. Eh? This is not even funny.

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