The story in brief: Jeet (Shahid Kapur) is a young man who has managed to rack up a debt of Rs 13 lakh 90 thousand to set up one failed business after another. To escape from his creditors, he jumps into the ocean - saying that his insurance policy should take care of their outstanding dues.
As luck would have it, he gets caught in a fisherman's net in Kolkata. Gundeya (Paresh Rawal) and Bandeya (Rajpal Yadav) take him to the hospital, discover the chit in his pocket with names of creditors. They think these folks owe him (!) 13 lakhs 90 thousand and decide to help the fella recover the debts, hoping to claim a few lakhs for themselves. Jeet pretends to be deaf and dumb - and some fairly funny scenes follow. Due to reasons too silly and yet too complicated to go into, Jeet and sidekick Bandeya end up in the house of a Gujarati family, headed by Om Puri, as servants.
This weird family enjoys kushti as much it enjoys its dandiya and dhoklas. When it's only when Rajpal Yadav remarks,"Idhar kitne log rehte hain? Ise zilla kyun nahin declare kar dete?" that I finally chuckle. Of course, it's the one-liners that are more effective in this movie rather than the situational comedy.
In this mad Gujarati family there's Kareena, an asli ki goongi girl, whose marriage was called off at the last moment. Her shaadi ka mandap is still standing, as brother Mangal Singh (Sunil Shetty ) has vowed that it will be removed only when he finds another suitable boy for her.
I won't elaborate anymore, because you can guess what ultimately happens. After several minor and major twists and turns, you have the Shahid-Kareena 'romance' budding with a vengeance(although it seems more like a 'cool way to get out of debt', if you ask me). There is a creature called Pooja - Jeet's erstwhile fiancee - wailing in white over her 'dead' husband back in the village. But since that character is played by Sushma Reddy, you know how the film is going to end.
Guess what really turned me off was the feudal kind of family setup in the movie and how women are portrayed. Whether it's Pooja or Kareena, both are just sitting there waiting for some guy to come and marry them. I mean, even Jeet's sister - who we get a verysmall glimpse of - is referred to as shaadi nahin hui hai, umar nikal gayi, ghar par baithi hai. It's Bollywood, so stereotypes are unavoidable... but still.
The other problem is: Priyadarshan's films are never out-and-out comedies. They're comedy mixed with emotional speeches, tears and chest-beating. While some of these are expressed in a comic vein, some of them are serious stuff. And that does not quite work for me.
Apparently, this formula works down-South (like many previous Priyadarshan films, Chup Chup Ke is adapted from a Malayalam hit called Punjabi House). But frankly, I think that a comedy should retain its comic tone throughout. Of the actors, Rajpal Yadav is brilliant while the rest are ok. Sunil Shetty is saaaad! And oh, Kareena does not regain her voice at the end of the film - which means she is silent throughout. That may be music to some ears because all the songs, except the one that is being played in the promos, don't qualify as music at all!
Wonder how this film compares to Phir Hera Pheri, which was also released yesterday. Strangely, both the films have almost the same star cast and similar plots. I have a feeling, though, that Phir Hera Pheri is better. Chup Chup Ke gets 2.5 stars from me. The extra half star is only for Rajpal Yadav.
And on a parting note, there's been a sudden spate of films where actors pretend to be deaf, dumb or blind in the name of comedy: Pyare Mohan, Tom, Dick & Harry,now Chup Chup Ke. Scriptwiters ... can we move on please??!!