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Old 01-28-2011, 04:56 AM
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Cast: Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Omi Vaidya, Tisca Chopra, Shruti Haasan and Shazahn Padamsee
Director: Madhur Bhandarkar
Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji is the kind of film that makes me reach for that extremely awkward rating Ė two and three-quarter stars.

The film, about three house-mates and their tangled love lives, is definitely among Madhur Bhandarkarís better efforts. It has moments of charm but never becomes grating candy-floss. Madhur, whose usually have names like Traffic Signal and Jail, has a tougher take on love and longing. And yet, Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji never soars because the treatment is resolutely pedestrian.

Madhur lets go of his trademark voyeurism but he canít resist adding a touch of crass. So when a man asks another, how do you do? The obviously gay character replies: "Any way you like it."

The three men are Naren, played by Ajay Devgn, a mild-mannered banker, separated from his super-ambitious reporter wife; Abhay or Abby, played by Emraan Hashmi, a playboy gym trainer who lives off rich girlfriends and believes that Ďitís survival of the cutestí; and Milind, played by Omi Vaidya, an earnest poet who is proudly holding on to his virginal status until marriage. All three fall in love and discover that the ways of the heart are complex and fairly brutal.

The most textured of these relationships is that between Naren and his nubile office colleague June, played nicely by Shazahn Padamsee. She is vivacious and ditzy. She calls him sir but thinks nothing of holding his hand and teaching him how to There is a genuine sweetness in Narenís crush on her and his awkwardness at the age gap.

Watch a scene in which Naren goes to a party with June and instantly becomes a dinosaur when he starts singing Koi Hota from the Mere Apne, which of course was released before June or any of her friends were born. Ajay does the subdued, hesitant, swept-off-his-feet boss well. The least successful is the relationship between Abby and his rich married girlfriend Anushka, played by Tisca Chopra. Tisca is a fine but she seems miscast as an ex-super-model who likes toy- boys while Emraan as Casanova is just lazy casting.

Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji has an interesting but the characters and situations arenít fleshed out enough. There is an inherent clumsiness and in places the film feels long and leaden. Still, if you keep your expectations low, it makes for mildly diverting

Iím going with two and three-quarters stars.
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