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Partnership that works

Popcorn and Partner go very well together. And that’s great news for the Bangla potboiler world. No thundering dialogues, no heavy-duty action. Peppered with slapstick comedy and mushy drama, the Partner plot is a fresh bake from the Tollywood oven.

Here’s a rich brat (Jeet) who wakes up every morning swinging to Shakira’s Hips don’t lie and holidays on the beach with his yuppie friends. But cloud nine comes crashing down when all his money is lost in the share market and his plump girlfriend Arpita Mukherjee (dressed in hot pants) dumps him without a second thought.

Jilted in love and scorned by his parents (Dipankar and Anamika), Jeet plans to end his life on the rail tracks. But debt-struck insurance agent Santu Mukherjee hatches a better plan of putting the morbid man to good use. He signs Jeet on as a “partner” to make a quick buck. Do-gooder Jeet postpones his suicide mission by three months to help the old man claim a few lakhs — by making Santu a nominee in his life insurance bond.

Enters Santu’s reel-cum-real-life daughter. The simple-but-hard-to-please Swastika doesn’t quite like Jeet but the sparks start flying soon after some sweet-sour moments. Director Shankar Roy doesn’t try hard to make the romance work — Jeet and Swastika do sizzle together. She puts in a natural act; he scores with his understated (by Tollywood standards) performance. Santu is endearing as the streetsmart but eccentric old man.

The song-and-dance is eye-catching too. There’s thought behind the camera movements, so the snow-capped cliffs and limestone rocks look good.

The second half drags. There’s too much talk and too little action as Santu goes all teary thinking of his dead son. But the final laugh saves the film from the impending disaster. That’s when Jeet is back on the rail tracks to keep his word and a litany of family members, cook and sweeper chase him to foil his plan.

The chuckles are there in all the right places but since Tolly potboilers can’t do without overdoing, there’s a track on Kharaj and Kanchan who act dumb and sound dumber. The worst part is a bare-bodied Kanchan shaking a leg with the housemaid (who, too, dresses in hot pants and mini skirts!), flaunting his ribs in SRK’s six-pack mode (uggh!).

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