Actor, dialogue writer and occasional director Vijay Maurya’s Mast Mein Rehne Ka is a cheerfully meandering tale of two couples thrown together by circumstance. Kamat (Jackie Shroff) is so lonely that he welcomes a robber into his home.
The episode introduces Kamat to another robbery victim. Handa (Neena Gupta), as loud as the mole on her chin is prominent, shakes up Kamat – who wears his pants mid-waist – with her motor-mouth nature and skill at dodging life’s curveballs. Handa isn’t as sanguine as she claims to be, just as Kamat isn’t as innocent as he looks.
Meanwhile, the burglar Nanhe (Abhishek Chauhan) is in a pickle. Otherwise a tailor who is forever falling short of money, Nanhe finds comfort in sassy street dweller Rani (Monika Panwar).
Mast Mein Rehne Ka is out on Prime Video. The Hindi film is based on a story by Vijay Maurya and Payal Arora and written by Maurya. The comedic drama is laced with the Mumbai patois that Maurya has fruitfully used in other movies, including Gully Boy and Darlings.
Adept at reproducing roadside argot – including the untranslatable, T-shirt slogan-ready “Disco Dambar” – as well as relaying Mumbai manners, Maurya does fine by his characters so long as they are yammering away.
Among the memorable secondary players is Rakhi Sawant as Bilquis, a dancer who hires Nanhe. Bilquis is the epitome of Mumbai itself when she gives Nanhe a big order and wants near-immediate delivery.
When do I start, Nanhe cautiously asks. You already have, Bilquis snaps.
The film too is in a tearing hurry to leap from one well-observed or hilarious scene to the next without pausing for logic or coherence. Over a series of episodes, the makers air their thoughts on loneliness, especially among older residents, the cruelty of poverty, and the tendency of Mumbai residents to shoot off their mouths.
There’s plenty of heart, but the brain work needed to bring together two separate plot strands is often absent. While Nanhe and Rani have several cute moments, and Monika Panwar is compelling when the going gets tough, the more memorable track belongs to the older lot.
Neena Gupta happily swears away as though she has been waiting for the opportunity her entire career. Jackie Shroff is funny, warm and effortlessly cool, pinning down the movie’s madcap essence as well as its sentimental core. These two golden oldies deserve their own gig.