Friday, June 17, 2011

Bheja Fry 2 

Double Fry

Sagar Ballary’s Bheja Fry had turned out to be a surprise hit, restarting yet another wave of small budget comedies, and turning Vinay Pathak into a leading man.

A few years later, Pathak is still reprising the oily-haired simpleton role in most of his films (eg Chalo Dilli)— with Bheja Fry 2 he plays the ‘idiot’ Bharat Bhushan again, but this time the humour refuses to rise.

What had made the annoying Bharat Bhushan such a winner in the first film (copied from the French film Le diner des cons) was that he was the innocent in a nasty world, where cruel rich men want to use him for their amusement and he neatly turns the tables on them, without once going out of character.  The way the film went, if you found Bharat Bhushan with his film music obsession irritating, you aligned yourself with the snobs who treat him shabbily; as a result Pathak turned the character into a likeable idiot.  And, one could see the potential of turning Bheja Fry into a franchise with Pathak as its figurehead.

However, for a part two to work, the script has to be equally good, which means either an equally good foreign film has to be plagiarised, our the writer’s bheja strained to come up with a better concept. Then Bharat Bhushan has to be put in a situation where, no matter what he does, the audience’s sympathy remains with him. The whole point of the character is lost if he remains simply annoying – to the others in the film and to the audience.

In Bheja Fry 2, the music-loving income tax Bharat Bhushan wins a reality show and gets to holiday on a cruise ship.  On it is dishonest, tax-evading businessman Ajit Talwar (Kay Kay Menon) and his buddies, as well as BB’s Income tax crony (Suresh Menon) Shekharan (Suresh Menon), in disguise. There’s also a possible romantic interest for BB in the form of TV executive Ranjini (Minissha Lamba), which is left hanging.

In trying to get rid of BB, Talwar falls overboard too, and both are washed ashore on a deserted island.  It would take considerable comic skills to go beyond the expected scenario—BB being his loud, singing, aggravating self, and Talwar looking suitably incensed.  Then they run into an eccentric photographer Raghu Burman (Amole Gupte, overacting madly), living in the wilderness, equipped, however, with electricity and telephone.  By the time he appears, the already low on humour script runs completely dry.

Vinay Pathak does the role as best as he can, but this time, the character has no shades to balance the annoyance he causes. Kay Kay Menon looks lost and Minissha Lamba does nothing of interest. 


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