Friday, October 22, 2010

Jhootha Hi Sahi 

Friends and Other Creatures

Abbas Tyrewala’s debut Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, had endearingly real characters, people like us, with lives pretty much like ours—and to make it filmi, a good over-the-top climax.

His second film, following the same ‘Hero and Friends’ formula, set in London is a bit of a let down.  It’s contrived, derivative and very deficient in the joie de vivre that should be the mark of a successful romcom.

One of the problems is Mishka, the character and Pakhi, the actress—a most unappealingly self-centred and whiny woman, played by an actress without screen presence. Typically, heroes fall for such damsels in distress, and confident career women are referred to as ‘bitches’ who deserve to be dumped.

Siddharth (John Abraham) and his Pakistani neighbour Omar (Raghu Ram) run an Indian bookshop called Kaagaz Ke Phool in London, along with a third Amit (Omar Khan), a gay man.  Cheekily their store has a sign declaring “We don’t do Deepak Chopra.”  The film needed more of this wit, and less of translated literally from English, over-cute, too-clever chatter.

The characters are also strange—Omar’s sharp-tongued and pregnant sister Aliya (Alishka Varde) refuses to marry her Japanese boyfriend, who keeps coming up with crazy ways to propose;  another gay pal who keeps bringing his boyfriends to Aliya for approval,  there’s Mishka’s sex-obsessed friend and the Sid’s unsuspecting girlfriend Krutika (Mansi Scott), who is hated by his friends for no apparent reason.

Sid’s number is mistakenly given out for a suicide helpline and among the desperate souls who call and wake him up is Mishka, who wants to die because her boyfriend left her.  Sid talks her out of it, but meets her in person and falls for her. So she confides in the anonymous voice on the phone, not knowing that she is being wooed by the same shy, stammering guy.

All the funny moments and good lines pop up when the wet blanket of a leading lady is not around.  The actors are peppy and eager to please, London is shot very beautifully (Manoj Lobo), but Jhootha Hi Sahi’s flaws far outweigh its charm—its dragging long after the story has ended being one of the major ones.


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