The pursuit of an Indian cricket legend's Ferrari makes a young boy's dreams of playing cricket at Lords become a reality.

Cricket comedy aims for the heart.

Ferrari Ki Sawaari is a wish fulfilment fantasy about old debts and good fathers. Essentially, it’s a cross-generation dad and son love story.

A lot of the film is quite fun, not so much for its incident packed plot, but for the performances, which are richly comic

Thirty-something Rustom (Sharman Joshi) is a clerk, a good-natured widower who knows poverty and seems possessed by a dogged optimism. He lives with his father Deboo, played with a tenderness that’s really quite moving by Boman Irani, and his own son, Kayo (Ritvik Sahore).

In his day, Kayo’s grandpa was a world-class cricketer. But that all changed when he was betrayed by a friend. As the movie opens, the old man seems lost in a silent haze of bitterness. Still, Kayo might have inherited some from his grandfather since he shows real batting talent on the pitch. Kayo gets a chance to partake in a cricket clinic presented at Lords. Trouble is, there is no way Rustom can afford the relatively large fee to get Kayo to England.

Desperate, he devises a scam. A local businessman is throwing a wedding for his goofy son who desires that great symbol of success and affluence: a Ferrari. Rustom tells the wedding planner that he’ll get the vehicle in time for the nuptials. He steals – more accurately borrows – the Ferrari from Sachin Tendulkar for the price of Kayo’s trip. Since this is a light comedy of confusion and misunderstanding, Rustom’s plan goes terribly wrong.

This is the directorial debut of Rajesh Mapuskar, who co-wrote the twisty script with Vidhu Vinod Chopra, and a lot of the film is quite fun, not so much for its incident packed plot, but for the performances, which are richly comic.

Being a relative novice when it comes to mainstream Indian cinema, I’m unfamiliar with Joshi but I was amazed to read that Ferrari Ki Sawaari is his first leading role in a screen career that’s already 13 years long. He makes an attractive hero even if his looks here are unprepossessing to say the least (or the most). With his ugly spectacles, atrocious haircut, low-key dress sense and skinny body, Joshi is movie screen road kill; a nerdy worm that looks like he’s just waiting for the bad guys to squash him.

What makes him such a sympathetic character is his dignity; he’s strong, smart and good hearted, and in the great tradition of Ideal Screen Fathers, he simply will not give up the dream! What makes the set-up interesting is that Rustom is prepared to go against his good instincts so his son can have the best opportunity to break free of class and status.

From the movie’s first moments, Rustom is established as scrupulously honest, so it’s painfully funny to watch him scheme and lie in order to put things 'right’. This theme of restoration, of harmony, bleeds right through the movie’s narrative.

The foreground plot involving Kayo throws into high relief Deboo’s backstory and provides a chance for the old man to settle an ancient score with the friend who ruined his own cricket career. Played by Paresh Rawal, this guy now heads the cricket board and he’s not above corruption (a hint at the real life scandals that have dogged Indian cricket for some time).

Still, that’s not to suggest that Ferrari Ki Sawari gets heavy; it’s always feverishly sentimental and endearingly silly. There are chases, lots of physical and verbal gags, and characters here whose sole purpose seems to be the delivery of one-liners. And there’s even a quite spectacular fantasy/song sequence where Rustom and Kayo fly over the metropolis at night in a Ferrari that appears to be rocket powered. It’s a nice way of summing up the film; here fathers and sons share in each other’s dreams.