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Times of India
The film tracks the events in lives of a select few in two different cities who share a common pursuit.
If Paisa Paisa goes unnoticed, it would throw up a set of baffling questions. This film presents characters confronting a common challenge in a limited time-span, a theme that has worked well for many films in the recent past, irrespective of language or region.
Paisa Paisa does something similar and a question pops up as to why it doesn't work. A youth who goes for an interview in Chennai is kidnapped and his friend has to collect the ransom within a limited time frame. Ideally, such a thread should be woven into an utterly riveting narrative. There is the always the possibility of pulse-quickening sequences, a natural product of designing character's actions within a deadline. Sudden, sharp twists at key junctures that evoke shock or surprise. There could be moving moments which apparently arise out of the helplessness of characters.
In Paisa Paisa, there are no such sequences. The challenge is serious, the conflict almost nil and hurdles manageable. The movie opens in Chennai with Balu (Aju Varghese) attending an interview. He sits in a tea-shop masking a 'wanted' poster of what we would later learn as that of a terrorist. It's a look alike and although the terrorist is most wanted and most dreaded, Balu has no clue about the fact that he actually resembles the wanted terrorist.
An auto is shown chasing him and he is hurled into a dark, stuffy godown. He calls his lover for help who switches off her phone and later his friend Kishore (Indrajith).
The film then shows Kishore riding his bike in search of money. In fact the shots that follow him in his bike are so long that a sigh is warranted when the bike finally runs out of fuel and he starts walking. In between, this pursuit of money delays his reconciliation with his wife Surya (Mamta) who waits for him at a restaurant and nags him endlessly.
There is an attempt at bringing out certain moments in life when someone feels totally weak and powerless. In Paisa Paisa, these moments are downplayed by a drag narrative. We are even left wondering what prevents Kishore from disclosing this serious matter to his wife, which could have spared him the never-ending ride on bike or his frantic sprints.
An aid coming from a totally unexpected source or close ones throwing lies at each other even in times of dire necessities are a few moments that stand out in the film, although feebly. Paisa Paisa loses its pace for want of engaging twists and a taut narrative and easily turns into a flick that passes by without a flutter.