Matey Moviez, Ramgopal Production and Spotlight International Films’ Ziindagi 50 50 (A) is based on the philosophy that life does not give everything to people. To gain something, a person has to lose something. The story is about people living and struggling in Bombay. Birju (Rajan Verma) is an autorickshaw driver who lives with his wife, Rupa (Supriya Kumari). He dreams of owning a house which the MHADA is due to give him. In fact, so keen is he on owning the house that he says, he would die if his dream is not realised. Madhuri (Veena Malik) is a street walker in Bombay, thrown into the profession by her mother when they were in Delhi. She hates policemen because of an incident which occurred while she was still studying in school. She is friendly to Birju who drops her every night at work. She hates police inspector Pawar (Murali Sharma) who often raids the place where she and other girls service clients for Anna (Ganesh Yadav). Mota (Atul Parchure) is the common pimp for all the girls. The film also has a track of a struggling filmmaker, Addy (Arya Babbar), and his junior artiste-friend, Naina (Riya Sen), who is waiting for a break as a leading lady in a film. Addy has promised her that when he gets his break, he would cast her as the heroine.
Rupa suddenly realises one day that her husband has not been allotted a house by the MHADA. She seeks the help of her neighbour, Lele (Rajpal Yadav), and goes to the officer in charge (Adi Irani) at the MHADA office. This, in spite of the fact that Lele harasses her sexually. The MHADA officer asks Rupa for sexual favours if she wants her husband to be allotted a house. Rupa rebukes him but then relents as she fears for husband Birju’s life. But in spite of warming the officer’s bed, he refuses to give her the allotment letter. Lele fights for Rupa’s right and gets her the allotment letter but Rupa is distraught about having compromised her self-respect for the house. She breaks down in front of her husband and tells him the truth about the sexual favour she had given the MHADA officer. Instead of appreciating the fact that Rupa had done what she had done for his happiness, he walks out on her.
Meanwhile, Birju himself had gotten physical with Madhuri in a weaker moment after hearing her sob story about how she got initiated into the profession. Soon after her sexual encounter with Birju, Madhuri gives in to the demands of police inspector Pawar in spite of hating him to the core. After that, she meets a forlorn Birju who has deserted his wife. What does she tell Birju? Does she ask him to go back to his wife? Or does she live happily ever after with Birju? Or does she continue in her profession? Or does she return to Delhi?
Addy, meanwhile, has gotten a break from producer Khanna (Rajesh Beniwal) of Delhi and he keeps his promise to give Naina a break as a heroine. But Khanna won’t start the film unless Naina sleeps with him (Khanna) and when Naina insults him, Khanna asks Addy to cajole her into giving in. Addy does exactly that and explains to Naina that sleeping with Khanna was no big deal for their breaks. Naina gives in. However, on the first day of shooting, Addy’s hero (Kiran Jhanjani) refuses to co-star with Naina as his leading lady. So what does Addy do? Does Naina’s compromise go waste?
Rajiv S. Ruia’s story is quite ridiculous because it rests on the philosophy that a woman can never achieve anything in life without compromising or giving sexual favours to people. S. Sachindra’s screenplay is as ridiculous as Ruia’s story and, if one can say so, the story and screenplay belong to an era gone by. The drama is loud and so underlined that it would seem, there was no word like subtlety in the dictionaries of the writers. There is so much of selling one’s body to get work done or to make a living that it leaves the audience repulsed. Also, the character of Addy is shown to be so opportunistic that the viewer is left with a bad taste in the mouth, more so because he is led to believe that Addy is a hero. Also, Birju getting physical with Madhuri looks uncalled for and lowers his character. Again, the conversation between Madhuri and Birju after he has walked out on his wife does not add anything to the drama because Birju’s wife, Rupa, has put forth similar reasons before Birju. Likewise, the character of Lele does not ring true when he reveals all to Rupa in the end. For, the audience is left wondering why he was behaving in such a reprehensible manner when he has the audacity to call his wife a person of loose character. All in all, the story and screenplay seem to have been written with a mindset that won’t appeal to a majority of the viewers. Bunty Rathore’s dialogues abound in four-letter words, which will irritate the family and ladies audience but the masses may not mind that. The other dialogues are definitely well-written and carry weight.
Rajan Verma acts reasonably well but is not hero material. His dialogue delivery leaves something to be desired. Riya Sen hardly gets any scope. Veena Malik acts ably and impresses with an honest performance. Supriya Kumari acts with effortless ease and makes a fine debut but she is not heroine material. Arya Babbar is okay. Rajpal Yadav is very effective. His performance in the scene in which he confronts the MHADA officer and the one in which he confesses to Rupa is especially lovely. Murali Sharma is first-rate and does an outstanding job of the character of inspector Pawar. He acts so naturally that he evokes instant hatred for himself. Ganesh Yadav has his moments. Atul Parchure is very good. Adi Irani lives the character of the MHADA officer. Rajesh Beniwal is effective. Raj Premi (as the police inspector in Delhi) does fairly well. Hiya Singh is average as Maya’s (now Madhuri) mother. As her father, Prashant Jaiswal is good. Kiran Jhanjani leaves a mark in a special appearance.
Rajiv S. Ruia’s direction is average because, like his story and the screenplay, the narrative style also went out of fashion long back. Music (Amjad-Nadeem and Vivek Kar) is the best part of the film, besides the performances of some of the actors. ‘Tu saamne jo aaye’, ‘Saade naal aaja’, ‘Toh se naina’ and ‘Rabba’ are very well-tuned and appealing songs. Lyrics (Shabbir Ahmed, Ashish Pandit, Deepak Agrawal and Dev Negi-Vivek Kar) are appropriate. Song picturisations (Shabina Khan) are routine. Mukesh Maru’s camerawork is ordinary. Sets are commonplace. Editing is so-so.
On the whole, Ziindagi 50 50 is a poor show with the added disadvantage of lacking in face value. It will prove to be a non-starter at the box-office.