Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai Review (3.3/5)

A retelling of the 1980 cult classic that explores middle class woes and urban angst.

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Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai?

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Avg. Users' Rating: 3.3/5

STORY: Albert Pinto goes missing one day and his girlfriend and family start making rounds at the police station to track him down. Unknown to them, he is on his way to Goa to carry out his first assignment as a hitman.

REVIEW: It’s nearly impossible to talk about 2019’s Albert Pinto without delving into Saeed Mirza’s 1980 cult classic, ‘Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai’ first! Set in a post emergency era, the ‘80’s film captured the angst of the common man with a spotlight on the strikes by mill workers in Mumbai. The film is a potent social commentary with equally potent performances. Naseeruddin Shah’s Albert, the often angry car mechanic who loves to drive around in expensive cars owned by his clients and at first dismissive of his father’s idea to join a labourers strike at the mill he works in, is now an iconic figure in Hindi cinema. 

Filling in Shah’s shoes is Manav Kaul as the present day Albert. In a narrative that juggles back and forth in time to keep an element of a thriller on, the mood in 2019’s Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai? is grim. 

The film opens with Albert (Kaul) driving off with a mystery man intercut with his girlfriend Stella (Nandita Das) at the police station. Having lodged a missing person’s complaint she is desperate to find out his whereabouts. As the plot unravels, it is known that Albert is on his way to Goa to carry out an assignment as a hitman – a job he sought out after quitting his comfortable private sector employment. Accompanying him is Nayyar (Saurabh Shukla), who is the point person between Albert and the ganglord who has asked to carry out the deed. Their conversations form a crux of the narrative. 

It’s through this journey that many facets of Albert’s life come to the fore – his relationship with Stella, his father’s suicide. And mostly his anger and angst at the state of affairs of the middle class – who he feels can be classified into categories of victims and watchers (who feed off the victims). And at times, it’s evident that Albert’s mind enjoys playing games with him too, as often his imagination gets better of him. 

While the film drives home the point of helplessness and latent anger simmering inside an average middle class man, director Soumitra Ranade’s screenplay does go off key at times. Even with a running time of just over 90 minutes, the pace slackens.

One would have to say the 80’s cult classic is notches above this one. However, Manav Kaul’s compelling performance stands out. Nandita Das as Stella is breezy and effortless, even as she morphs into a number of characters throughout the film, as a projection of Albert’s imagination.

Overall, the filmmaker tries to give it an edge but this Albert leaves you wanting for something more.