Kis Kis Ki Kismat

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 27, 2004 07:23 hrs

Starring Dharmendra, Mallika Sherawat, Rati Agnihotri and introducing Siddharth Makkar

Rating: *

The two things that emerge from the haze of vapid and vaporous humour is the camera’s commitment to the leading lady’s cleavage and the director’s obsession with food.

If the camera (manned with manful voyeurism by Uday Devare) isn’t focusing on Ms Sherawat, the director is busy creeping up on his characters’ biting, crunching, smacking, salivating mouths as they gorge on the edibles. If food be the music of love then let’s play anorexic.

Kis Kis Ki Kismat is the most abhorrent comedy that man has ever invented for celluloid. All the dialogues, scenes and situations seem to have been rendered in a mood of reckless abandon.

Director Govind Menon had earlier done two straight-off Hollywood ripoffs (Danger, Khwahish). In Kis Kis Ki Kismat he goes original. Going by the results you wish Menon hadn’t.

The supposed satire is triggered off by the bullish hijinks of a stock broker, inventively named Hasmukh Mehta. All resemblances to Harshad Mehta are purely intentional. And so is the characterization. A bit of the problem originates from Dharmendra’s poor parodic projection of a man whose riches are being squandered by his spendthrift wife (Rati Agnihotri) and a nerdish numbskulled son (Siddharth Makkar).

From Hrishikesh Mukhejee’s Chupke Chupke to Raj Kumar Kohli’s Naukar Biwi Ka, Dharmendra is done with his quota of fun. In this film he’s a tragic shadow of the frolicsome comic virtuoso he once used to be, reduced in Sherawat’s shallow company to mouthing lines like, “It’s gone up.”

Whether it’s the sex or the sensex, director Govind Menon is equally out of his depths. He seems to have conceived the entire project to spotlight Sherawat as an indigenous Marilyn Monroe. But sorry, no show in spite of abundant show-show. Sherawat sings and dances in Broadway-styled musical items (set to the most atonal compositions ever created for Hindi cinema). She even lets her skirt fly up in the air, a la Monroe in The Seven Year Itch.

But life they say, is a bitch. Mallika’s Monroe act is as exciting as watching an airhostess brief passengers on how to put on their life jackets.

Mallika's comic timing whenever the camera moves beyond the voyeur’s voyage, is downright pathetic. Batting her eyelids at poor Dharmendra, doing deep-throat kissing with his screen son (played by a newcomer who even in Sherawat’s company, seems stiff), the actress goes from `Murder` to hara-kiri in this comedy of gross errors and mirthful misdemeanours.

Except for scant exchanges between Dharmendra and his wife Rati Agnihotri on the virtues of economic frugality (Paresh Rawal and Shoma Anand were far funnier in Priyadarshan’s Hungama) there isn’t a single funny line in the length and breath of this exasperatingly out-of-step comic traversty.

Director Menon cannibalizes from real-life characters. There’s a journalist named Khalid (played by Kurush Deboo, the medico who sits in at the exams for Munnabhai) who’s supposed to be sniffing around for a scoop story on the stock broker and his supposed floozie who happen to be in the same hotel at the same time.

All you can sniff out of this snuffed-out satire on the wages of affluence is the complete lack of grace in the pace. The humour is all in-your-face, and shockingly inept. Are we expected to laugh at a hotelier Sheikh (Satish Shah, struggling to stay afloat in a leaky buxom boat) who speaks wrong Hindi and Urdu? or at a cake-throwing binge at a Macdonald’s joint (who pays for the mess?).

Or at a necklace that flies across the air, trips our Mumbaiyya Monroe.

Less easy to comprehend is the reason for making this film. Forget about Sherawat’s `kismat`. She has fans in China now. I am sure they’ll enjoy the soggy-noddle comedy. But why subject Dharmendra to such a droll destiny?

This much bull about the Big Bull belongs to the archives among the most unfunny comedies of cinema.

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