Soumitra Ranade’s remake of Saeed Mirza’s parallel cinema classic Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai (1980) is an Angry Everyman story. The original was clear about its ideology – it was a capitalist-versus-mill workers Leftist morality tale narrated by the era’s dream cast (Naseeruddin Shah, Smita Patil, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Rohini Hattangadi, Avtar Gill, Sulabha Deshpande). Ranade adapts the film to project modern-day angst onto a system, in which, according to the film’s protagonist Albert Pinto (Manav Kaul), everybody is egregiously up for sale.
Albert was once a man inside this system. He had a safe job, a girlfriend he wants to marry (Stella, played by Nandita Das) and a house he wants to buy. His family (father, mother and a brother) values honesty above money. But when his father gets embroiled in a financial scam for no fault of his own, Albert snaps out of his middle-class dreams. He becomes the outsider, often seeming to need the help of a psychiatric counsellor.
But Ranade doesn’t venture into psychotherapy. The Angry Man is enough for his straightjacketed narrative. Albert disappears, and the Mumbai police is in search of him. To settle his score, Albert is on a journey to Goa with Nayar (Saurabh Shukla), a don’s hitman and flunky. The journey reveals how cynical and embittered Albert is, which Ranade, who has also written the film, juxtaposes with Nayar’s deadpan humour. Will Albert reach his destination, and will he be reunited with Stella?
It is a film heavy on dialogue, which reveals Albert’s beliefs. Despite some comic relief, the film is overwritten. There is no distinct visual language that could say as much as the words. The Everyman struggle, more specifically the middle-class Indian whom Albert equates with the crow, is always relevant. But the treatment makes the film seem like a treatise.
Manav Kaul has terrific energy and because of him, Albert comes alive in some scenes. Nandita Das and Saurabh Shukla are also competent in their roles, although this is far from being one of Shukla’s best roles.
Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai? has an anti-establishment heart, but because of the somewhat outdated execution, it falls flat as a two-hour watch.