Film: “Coffee with D”; Director: Vishal Mishra; Cast: Sunil Grover, Pankaj Tripathi, Anjana Sukhani, Dipannita Sharma, Zakir Hussain and Rajesh Sharma; Rating: *

“Coffee with D” is a satire designed on the popularity of a primetime news anchor famed for his loud tirade with the appendix, “The nation wants to know”.

In a battle for TRPs (Television Rating Points) and in order to keep his “news” show afloat and thereby his job, news anchor Arnab Ghosh (Sunil Grover) devises an idea to invite the Pakistan-based dreaded underworld don ‘D’ to his show. How he goes about organising this shenanigan, forms the crux of the tale.

Director Vishal Mishra’s story has an interesting premise. On the face of it, it sounds great, but the wafer-thin plot and the languid pace of the film, along with its one-dimensional and poorly etched characters who are moulded as caricatures, is its undoing. The writing, barring a few dialogues, is replete with mediocrity. The forced attempt at humour is stereotypical and trite.

While the entire first half is focussed on building the aura of Arnab and his predicament, the second half concentrates on his interview with D. Overall, the screenplay lacks drama and excitement. Also, the performances by the lead characters seem staged and theatrical.

Sunil Grover, the stand-up comedian reputed for his popular comic characters in several avatars is a competent actor, but is miscast in the role of a suave news anchor. Nevertheless, minus the persona of the character, he delivers as an actor.

Anjana Sukhani as his pregnant wife Parul, is effortlessly natural. Dipannita Sharma as Neha, Arnab’s colleague who accompanies him to Pakistan for the interview, is painfully cliched.

Pankaj Tripathi as Girdhari, D’s Man Friday, shines in a nuanced performance.

Zakir Hussain’s portrayal of D lacks lustre. The character is crafted in a perfunctory manner and thus the actor does not offer anything new to his role. The comic lines he mouths undoubtedly elicit a few chuckles.

The rest of the cast members that propel the humour in the narrative are stereotypical and insufferable.

With moderate production values and tacky sets, cinematographer Anshul Chobey’s static and boring frames capture the drama befitting a television broadcast.

The 2D graphics in the film in the song sequence and as a scene are equally amateurish and insipid.

With a run-time of over two hours, the film drags unnecessarily. A few minutes into the film and the novelty factor wears off with the narrative fatigue setting in.

In his directorial debut, Vishal Mishra disappoints as he fails to wield the baton effectively. The film is mediocre fare and you can safely avoid this coffee, unless you are a Sunil Grover fan.

By Troy Ribeiro

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