By: By Taran Adarsh
Critic's Rating: 18/5
Saturday 20 December 2003
Attempting a genre that has been rarely depicted on Indian screen before is a step in the right direction. And if the subject happens to be 'time travel', it generates tremendous curiosity. (Read: Interview with director Imtiaz Punjabi
) FUN2SHH, directed by Imtiaz Punjabi, tries hard to be different, but unfortunately the writers seem to have relied too heavily on clich?s to carry the story forward ? and that is its biggest drawback. An apt case of good intentions gone wrong!
FUN2SHH is about three dudes, Ajju [Anuj Sawhney], Vicky [Iqbal Khan] and Johny [Paresh Rawal] and their adventures that span over about ten centuries.
When the trio are wrongly accused by their employer Bhaleram [Kader Khan] of stealing a 10th century king's precious crown from an exhibition, the dudes literally hit a wall... that magically transports them to the 10th century.
Thus begins a roller coaster of adventures in the ancient kingdom of the king [Gulshan Grover].
Amidst fearsome soldiers and dangerous chases, the trio find shelter in the house of a lady magician who is the pre-incarnate of their 21st century landlady [Farida Jalal].
Meanwhile, Ajju and Vicky fall in love with the princesses [Netanya Singh and Raima Sen] and they finally elope with them back to the 21st century along with the authentic 10th century crown stolen.
But all is not well yet, what with the king landing in the 21st century in hot pursuit of the dudes, to get his daughters and his crown back.
Inspired by the HARRY POTTER films and also LOK PARLOK [1979; Jeetendra, Jaya Pradha], FUN2SHH could've been one wacky entertainer. Alas! What could've been a roller coaster ride with several riveting moments turns out to be such a hotchpotch. The fault clearly lies in its screenplay. Though slapdash by nature [it goes well with the genre], the film starts off pretty well. The first few reels are ordinary, but the story does turn interesting as the three friends [Paresh Rawal, Anuj, Iqbal] accidentally land up in the 10th century.
Once there, some of their escapades are truly hilarious and a few individualistic sequences are definitely well executed. The fight in the arena or the sequence when Anuj and Iqbal are to be beheaded comes to your mind instantaneously. In fact, the first half, though slightly slow-paced, does manage to keep the viewer glued to the screen.
But the film slips in the post-interval portions. The actual mission ? of returning to the 21st century ? takes a complete backseat, while the focus shifts to the boys romancing the princesses.
Even the romance lacks a firm ground and looks too sudden to be true. The songs ? the romantic duet and the title track ['Hum Hain Funtoosh', soon after the swayamvar] ? also look completely forced in the narrative.
The second half has some more shortcomings in terms of scripting. The Kader Khan track, which keeps coming up at regular intervals, is grossly irritating. Besides, the idea to show a double role of not just Gulshan Grover, but also Raima Sen, Netanya Singh, Kader Khan, Farida Jalal and Rushali [opposite Paresh Rawal] looks gimmicky.
Writers Praveen Raj and Rajesh Khatter should've incorporated more adventurous incidents in the screenplay. Although the story is genuinely refreshing and the producers have spent a packet to recreate the 10th century, the writers seem to have run out of ideas midway through the film. The climax, which should've been a strongpoint, is least convincing, with the prolonged fight taxing the viewer further.
Director Imtiaz Punjabi has shot the film stylishly, but how one wishes he would've concentrated less on making each frame look alluring and more on substance. While he shows promise in a few deftly-executed sequences, let's not forget that the best of names don't rise beyond a point if burdened with a weak screenplay.
Pritam's music is functional. 'Dhuan Dhuan' is the pick of the lot in terms of orchestration, rendition and picturisation. Dialogues [Praveen Raj, Rajesh Khatter] are well penned, mainly those delivered by Paresh Rawal. Cinematography [Faroukh Mistry] is inconsistent ? at times perfect, at times dark. Some of the special effects are well executed.
Talking of performances, the film belongs to Paresh Rawal. But the actor is not in complete form as he was in HERA PHERI or AWARA PAAGAL DEEWANA. Perhaps, the role this time around is not author-backed, nor does the script give him optimum scope to have an encore.
Anuj Sawhney is alright, but needs to work hard in sequences that demand dramatics. Iqbal Khan makes a confident debut. He has a good voice, but needs to polish his acting skills, mainly in sequences that are aimed at the hoi polloi.
Both Raima Sen and Netanya Singh don't get scope to display histrionics. Gulshan Grover does his part[s] with ?lan. Kader Khan goes overboard. Farida Jalal is fair. Narendra Jha [Senapati] is competent. Ashish Vidyarthi does not impress. Paintal is okay.
On the whole, FUN2SHH has an interesting first half, but an uninspiring second half takes away the sheen from the enterprise. The film has some curiosity value, but the content [script] does not match the expectations one has from a subject like this. At the box-office, in the wake of a tough opposition this week [MUNNABHAI M.B.B.S. ? which is also a light entertainer!] and next week [L.O.C.], the prospects of FUN2SHH appear limited.
Rating:- * ?.