Saturday, January 10, 2004

Paisa Vasool 

Paisa Vasool

A chick flick that doesn’t flinch while admitting the ages of the two leading ladies ages (30), or past (one a divorcee, one a gold-digger); a chick flick that actually has the women doing all the work, including the scheming and fighting; a chick flick in which the women don’t weep.

Alas, the rah-rahs for Paisa Vasool produced by Manisha Koirala and directed by Srinivas Bhashyam have to stop here. The film flicked from High Heels and Low Lifes tries hard to be hip and clever, but falls flatter than a ruined soufflé.

Maria (Manisha Koirala), the nervous, bespectacled baker, has, for some unexplained reason, inherited a bungalow in Mumbai and a bakery from stranger. Builders eye the property and keep trying to evict Maria.

Baby (Sushmita Sen) failed actress resigned to be a dancer in films, meets Maria in a pub (what was Maria doing there alone anyway?). Between one thing and another, Maria invites Baby to live with her, over the protests of her crippled neighbour Johnny (Sushant Singh). Baby’s irrepressible sense of mischief and desire for quick money get the two girls embroiled in a blackmail game involving a booty of stolen diamonds.

Their innocent prank trigged off by a cross connection leads to a trail of dreaths, and a brush with Biryani, the kinky henchman (Makrand Despande) of a gangster (Tinnu Anand).

After the two main characters are introduced, the film moves in a zig-zagging, directionless way, littered with as many flat jokes as somewhat comic gags (a newbie hitman with an empty gun, or Baby zapping Biryani with hooker lingo).

Sushmita Sen quickly takes charge with a full-of-beans performance, and Manisha Koirala is content to be the sidekick. Too bad the film doesn’t work, because it will just makes industry folk reiterate, we-told-you chick flicks don’t work in India. Fact is, even if the two protagonists had been played by men, the film would be equally awful.


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