Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji is the kind of film that makes me reach for that extremely awkward rating – two and three-quarter stars.
The film, about three house-mates and their tangled love lives, is definitely among Madhur Bhandarkar’s better efforts. It has moments of charm but never becomes grating candy-floss. Madhur, whose films 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 can’t 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 ‘it’s survival of the cutest’; 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 dance. There is a genuine sweetness in Naren’s 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 movie 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 actress 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 story but the characters and situations aren’t 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 entertainment.(NDTV)