Being a fan of con-movies I enjoyed the first few minutes of the film where both Emraan and Deepak Tijori fool the innocent people watching them playing the game of ‘guessing the right card’ with a clever trick. Perhaps I loved the sequence more because that was my personal experience too when I first visited Mumbai a few decades back (then Bombay) and lost a good amount of money guessing the ‘Begum’ with the marked card very smartly placed in the deck targeting me alone as the only stranger standing in that group of all con-friends posing to be some passing spectators.
Secondly, I started expecting a real good movie coming next hearing the catchy title song ‘Dukki Tikki’ which again took me back in time remembering a similar enjoyable song written on the playing cards in Dharmender-Jeetender starrer SAMRAT released in 1982. The next 30-40 minutes were all fine with a good con played by Emraan-Deepak on some other goons and the film actually began in the right sense with Paresh Rawal making a fine entry as the Guru giving few enjoyable moments along with Emraan. So till interval, I found RAJA NATWARLAL to be above average with some good peaks along with the lows, progressing at a less energetic pace.
But post intermission, I got hugely disappointed with the director Kunal simply playing all weird, unbelievable and silly tricks in the name of con, involving the cricket board and its big game of professional cricket (on the lines of T-20), making me lose all the interest generated by its first hour.
In fact such is the way in which both Emraan and Paresh go on playing their schemes fooling the shrewd Kay Kay in the second half that one begins thinking that have they really made this film for all grown up viewers sitting in the theaters or just kids below the age group of 12 without any reasoning or questioning ability as such.
For example, the laughable con played in the initial auction involving the real ball used in the World Cup final, the official premises of the board being rigged so easily, a big five star hotel being booked for Cricket team auctions fearlessly without any verification or media hassles faced, a whole new bank opened overnight in a posh road of Mumbai as if it’s a piece of cake for them all being the typical Bollywood heroes and on top of all more than 1500 crores transferred into (ordinary) bank accounts in just minutes as if they have been doing such kind of transactions from years.
Along with the absurdity mentioned above, mediocre songs keep interrupting the narration as always turning the lead couple into two funny characters romancing on the screen in such a tense situation. The pace keeps dropping constantly due to the lazy writing and then the finale con sequence which looks completely unconvincing right from the word go, ruins the whole favorable build up witnessed before the intermission.
In short, a con-movie has to be fast, thrilling and exciting all together with some enjoyable twists & turns in its narration, which successfully is able to con the viewers too sitting in their seats all of a sudden. But since RAJA NATWARLAL fails to do so with some bad editing and everything happening on a childishly unbelievable scale towards the end, it falls flat and is not able to deliver the expected quite sadly. Further its average cinematography and background score too do not add any extra edge to the movie displaying a fine start.
However, despite having a weak screenplay & story progression the film still has few enjoyable performances to offer coming from the always reliable Paresh Rawal and Kay Kay Menon. Their sequences are a treat to watch along with the noteworthy supporting cast. Plus some good support is also provided by Deepak Tijori and Humaima Malik, who apart from showing the confidence in kisses, also displays her talent in the emotions scenes too quite boldly. Yet, I expected a lot more from her, post her simply brilliant and unforgettable performance in the shocking gem BOL. Talking about the lead hero Emraan Hashmi, I frankly found him the same as seen in his previous films without putting in some extra effort to match up the performances of both Paresh and Kay Kay.
Summing up, RAJA NATWARLAL had all the ingredients of making a fine, entertaining con movie for the interested audience. But its writing, editing and direction doesn’t let the film move ahead than the level of below average. Moreover if any con film tends to treat its viewers as all early teenage kids without any logical thinking ability (and that too in the country worshiping cricket) then its bound to fail miserably in all probabilities. Still you can watch it for Paresh and Kay Kay alone and not for anything else.
Rating : 2 / 5