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Total Siyapaa review: Great concept, average execution!

Movie:
Total Siyappa
Director:
E. Niwas
Cast:
Ali Zafar, Yami Gautam, Anupam Kher, Kirron Kher, Sara Khan, Vishwa Badola, Anuj Pandit
Avg user rating:

It's the boy meets girl's family situation. Aman (Ali Zafar) is meeting girlfriend Asha’s (Yaami Gautam) family for the first time. He’s a Pakistani; she’s an Indian (Aman-Asha, gettit?)

The meeting is a mess from the word go. The family doesn’t warm up to him, and he is disoriented by the whacky group. The film, a remake of Only Human (Seres Queridos) , a Spanish film, tries to use this unsettled milieu to bring on the laughs.

And the potential was there, but somehow the film is not as funny as it should be. Kirron Kher’s Punabi mom tadka is the film’s only gag. But how many times can you laugh on “phitte mooh” and other such?

Asha’s mother (Kirron Kher) is on anti-depressants, and claims her family is responsible. The father (Anupam Kher) is demoted at work, and rarely comes home. Asha’s brother is the kind that hates Pakistanis and happily beats anyone who crosses his path. The grandfather walks around with a knife in the house; that's when he can't find the gun.

When the meeting happens, the mother tries hard to hide her disappointment beneath overtly cheerful smiles. The grandfather asks him, “Guitar to main bhi bajaata hoon. Lekin karte kya ho?" And "Tum army mein kyun nahin gaye?" The married sis flirts unabashedly. The brother openly criticizes Pakistanis.

You see, in this minefield, Asha has hidden his nationality from her family. The Pandora's Box opens when Asha announces that Aman is a Pakistani.

But that's not all. Aman accidentally drops a heavy container from the kitchen window, which falls on a man's head they presume to be dead. What now?

The film attempts humour, but misses the mark all too often. It's only Kirron Kher's hyper and loud Punjabi matriarch act that is super-hilarious.

The USP of an Indo-Pakistani romance is hardly explored. It's more about the Punjabi family and their (lack of) acceptance of Aman. A sub-plot of Indian and Pakistani neighbours quarrelling over the smallest things is unnecessarily added.

The lead actors -- Ali Zafar and Yaami Gupta don't have the electric chemistry that makes rom-coms come alive. Individually they give competent performances (although both actors have been much better in their other films), but there’s no sizzle as a pair.

Director E Niwas (Shool, ) gives us a film devoid of conviction. The film had potential to be poignant, funny and romantic, but sadly it’s just a little of all three. Even at its short running length, the film looked like it had run out of a story in the second half.

Dialogue (by producer and co-writer Neeraj Pandey) is intermittently interesting. The audacious dialogue between Asha and Aman criticizing each other’s countries is superb.

Technically, the film is uninspired. Cinematography is pedestrian. The sound design, devoid of any ambient sound, gives the film a dated feel. Worse, the dubbing is awful. The core concept of the film is arresting, but the execution and lack of chemistry between the lead pair is a damper.

Usually the Indo-Pak issue is dealt with seriousness and jingoistic patriotism in our films. Here, it’s refreshing that the issue has been attempted from a romantic and humorous angle. One wishes the film was as fun, as the concept. Now, that would be something.

Rating: Two stars

 

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