|Asin, Jacqueline Fernandez, Zarine Khan, Shazahn Padamsee, Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Riteish Deshmukh, Shreyas Talpade, Rishi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor|
Welcome to a world where grown-ups have names like Sunny, Max, Jolly, and Akshri Pasta, where London has more Indians than India, where a business whiz is as gullible as a toddler.
The film starts with touristy eagle-eye views of London’s sights—the London Eye, the bright red buses et al. We are introduced to two warring families divided by a fence.
The daughters of the homes—cousins—compete for professional credit as they both work for an animal welfare unit. Their mothers compete for face-lift appointments at clinics. And their fathers scream themselves hoarse about everything. One (Daboo played by Randhir Kapoor) has a ‘Kapoor and Son’ board outside his sprawling home. The other (Chintu played by Rishi Kapoor) has a ‘Kapoor and Real Son’ written outside his bungalow. Daboo is the adopted son that the father had outside of marriage. The two half-brothers now live in a constant state of war.
They are now competing for the Best Son-in-Law, which they greedily convert to a rich boy. Enter Chunky Pandey (groan…) who wears garish purple suits, speaks in a Sindhi-meets-Italian accent, and generally screams out his dialogues. He’s the one entrusted with finding the loaded groom for the Kapoor girls. They both zero in on business tycoon JD’s (Mithun Chakraborty) son except that...oh well…it’s difficult to explain.
The exhaustingly convoluted story doesn’t matter much. The crux is that the plot is all about mistaken identities, some intentional and some not. Four college friends (Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Riteish Deshmukh, Shreyas Talpade) get involved in the fracas. The romances happen eventually, and all’s swell in the end. But not so fast.
At three hours plus, the film drags on endlessly. There’s even some Dabangg-style action that takes place in the second-half (our nincompoop heroes suddenly appear all together to beat up baddies that they call “bachchas”.)
But what’s rattling about the film is that most of the central characters are morally bereft, and that’s supposed to be normal. Sunny (Akshay) is a creep who says “Squeeze Me” to ladies he’s never met before. Max (John) is a thief, and the glorification of his “skill” raises no alarm at all. Jolly (Riteish) has no qualms helping his friends lie to the girls and their families. And Shreyas is well, just there, also lying constantly. The explanation in the end that this was all for a good cause, is bollocks.
Then there are the parents from hell who treat their children like commodities to be traded for money. It’s also regressive of course, painting the fathers of daughters as desperate for wealthy grooms, foregoing their children’s wish and opinion in the matter.
The sense of humour is often cheeky—the senior actors are cast as brothers on screen as well and have retained their real pet names for the movie. Barring a few witticisms, the humour is essentially juvenile. The comedy tries to work on word play, like “Sambhar ka pata nahi, par ye rasam aapno nibhani padegi”. Then there’s one that made this writer crack up, that of calling a snake “Francis Ford Sapola”.
Animals are made to go through the torture of biting the actors’ privates. It’s all supposed to be funny. And then there’s the introduction of yesteryear Bollywood baddie Ranjeet who has a 'Ranjeet The Rapist' board in his office. Ironically, he turns out to be the one giving the moral science lesson to our buffoons!
The doffing of hat to Raj Kapoor with the girls named as Heena and Bobby, and Rishi’s look, has not been done with the élan it deserves.
The performances vary. Rishi Kapoor is adorable as the rogue of a father who wants a rich son-in-law. John Abraham's Dostana act is fairly funny. Asin shines with her spirited act. Akshay Kumar is disappointing and that lustful expression that he’s been made to do is the pits.
Mithun Chakraborty is wonderful as the intense and foreboding tycoon. But the portions where these senior actors are made to forgo their dignity are unacceptable (read Mithun cavorting with a lady dwarf).
Directed by Sajid Khan, the film’s finale is funny—both intentionally an unintentionally. The physical slapstick comedy is straight out of a kids’ movie, but it is charmingly daft. You cannot help let out a laugh or two. It’s accidentally comic when you have a person with a bullet in his arm, but no one thinks of ringing for the ambulance. You see, long-winded, sappy moral science lectures are to be given at the very time.
So there you have it, a film (story and produced by Sajid Nadiadwala) that’s a high-production version of what they call the “mad-cap comedy”. With nothing else at the cinemas this week, this makes for a just-about- bearable single time view.
Rating: Two stars