To be frank, I went to see this movie on an impulse. Was passing outside Fame cinemas yesterday at 0830 AM, saw the BO(No,not Body Odour,but, Box Office) window empty, for the first day, first show, walked up,smiled at the lady and the guy(It always makes people happy to have a smiling client, first thing in the morning, I feel) who were just switching the lights on, on their side of the BO. Had to wait five minutes, and then got my ticket.(It being Friday, I also have a holiday, a la Dubai, while the rest of India(read'family') is at work. LOL.
Now, I thought I was given the first row from the back, the way it looked, at 180 degrees from my side, on her computer monitor- couldn't see any more rows behind, that is. Imagine my surprise when it turns out that it's the middle seat, in roughly the middle of the hall. And, all the tickets that were sold were either in that row or in the absolute first row in front of the screen. So, I was surrounded by school kids who'd bunked school to see Rocket Singh'first day first show'. What could be the logic behind that?(Well, I moved to an empty row soon, of course..I like my personal space, even in a hall)
I forgot to mention- they also gave a coupon for a 'special price' on a samosa or a puff with a Pepsi, for just Rs. 50/-.I couldn't help thinking of the days when a samosa in a hall used to be 75 Ps or max 1 Re, and a Thums Up(since Coke and Pepsi had been thrown out by someone who later become one of our PMs, for reasons best known to him) would be @ Rs. 2.50/-. ? But then, not many could afford that Rs. 3.50/- total in those days, while today, more than 50% people partake of the Rs 50 plus of soft drinks/pop corn, et al. The dimes, nee, times- they have changed, have they not?
On to the movie review:
Ranbir Kapoor plays Harpreet Singh Bedi. The movie begins with him checking his B. Com results online- he's passed, just on the borderline, with 38. something percent. There's a party where he shows his first sales abilities, by 'convincing' the DJ to continue past the agreed night hour. Prem Chopra(No, not in a villain role) plays his doting grandfather who gifts him a pep+ scooty(to Ranbir's initial horror) and is by his side throughout the movie.
After some trials and rejections like most freshers go through, he finally goes to a computer sales company for an interview, where he's selected as a trainee. He goes with his immediate boss, Nitin(Navin Kaushik,looking like Raghu of Roadies fame) on a sales call and observes how his boss 'tackles' the client(I won't give more details-it'd give the fun of that scene away).
He's then sent on his first solo sales call, where the client reads the quote and talks openly of a bribe percentage. Bedi being a fresher, sees a complaint box and puts in a formal complaint against the bribe taking client and happily tells his Management about it. Naturally, he is given a few 'good words', called a 'zero' by the owner, Puri(That continues till the fag end of the film) and is demoted to sitting in the office and making cold calls only, while the rest of the staff mock him and throw paper airplanes(rockets) at him.
To vindicate himself and his abilities, he decides to take an order on the sly and tell his boss about it. However, when he goes to meet Puri, he insults him further in front of the same bribe-asking client. Dejected, he decides to sell the computers to the client(Shazahn Padamsee, who later becomes his lady love) himself through his fictitious firm' Rocket Sales Corp'. He soon makes a name for RSC by promoting it as a service oriented, 24*7 company, makes three partners- the office secretary, the office peon(who is an expert computer assembler) and the salesman who already does some computer sales work on the sly. They later add Nitin also in their partnership, since Nitin is a 'good salesman with contacts'.
Puri, in the meanwhile, is no fool- he first tries to find out about RSC by asking his sales team to get details, then he makes a call to their number and finally manages to find out that it's his own Company Board number(an unused one) that is being used by the RSC. And, the culprits are apprehended.
One thing leads to another, he 'buys' RSC by threatening the partners with jail, and is pleased with himself. However, he soon realizes that RSC's reputation is the opposite of his own company and soon all it's honesty and sincerity seeking clients are cancelling their orders when they hear that Harpreet is no longer there. Finally, realizing his folly, he finally returns the company to Rocket Singh, nee Harpreet. And, they live happily ever after(If they don't, the film flops, na?)
I heard people grumbling during and after the show, but I do wonder why? What were their expectations? Did they expect an item number or a lot of skin show from Gauhar Khan or a number of songs between the lead pair? Or did they expect more of a slapstick comedy than a serio-comic look at the world of Salesmen?
Frankly, I found it a good, different script- a genuine look at the typical Salesman's World, specially since I've been on both sides of the table, from the initial bubbly enthusiasm to the dejection to the self-motivation to succeed.
I could identify with it easily. Earlier, in my first company, I used to sit opposite clients(As an Engineering guy, though, not a Sales guy, but to get approvals, nevertheless), some of whom were totally honest, while some used to ask for stuff as silly as office files to New Year Diaries to fans for their house to airconditioners, in order to 'give approval'. And, in the beginning, I used to feel as shocked as Ranbir was in this movie. The honest ones became good friends also, in the next few years and I am still in touch with some of them.
Later, I was(am) on the Purchase side, and have seen suppliers like Puri, coming up and making subtle or blunt hints about how they want an order 'at any cost'(followed by a deep look or a wink) and have had to literally tell them that next time they repeat this dialogue would be the last time they deal with me or my Company. But more on that later-it deserves a separate post.
The only drawback, I felt was- why they made Ranbir a Sardar? His innocent charm from 'Ajab Prem...' would have worked here just as well and maybe even better.
If it was to show that Sardars are much more resilient, it's fine.
If it was to ensure that the movie runs well in Punjab and the North, it's fine.
If it was to show that they take insults like being called' zero' a number of times without retaliating, it's bad.
But, knowing director Shamit Amin's (Of'Chak De India' and team-building fame) style, I'm sure it was the first one.
Some of the funniest dialogues(Only I was laughing, though, in the hall-maybe no-one understood their subtlety?):
- The computer spare parts dealer saying:
: Customer ke naam mein to pehle se hi 'Mar' hai.(Mar=die)
: Yes, take the price list. I was going to put bhel on it as such.
- Harpreet warning Gauhar Khan: “Otherwise I’ll remain the joker Sardarji and you the item girl."
- Harpreet to people:" Risk toh Spiderman ko bhi lena padta hai, main toh phir bhi Salesman hoon"
And, some more such gems that you need to experience for yourself when you see the movie.
Overall, a good movie. Period.