Saturday, October 12, 2013

War Chhod Na Yaar 

Comedy of Platitudes

It claims to be India’s first war comedy, which it does dare to be when every other film in the list is either bombastic, jingoistic or boringly melodramatic. Unfortunately, Faraz Haider’s War Chhod Na Yaar, is a juvenile effort, with a script that seems to have been written in a college canteen by dopey teens.  It doesn’t quite make the grade as a satire or black comedy, but it must be the only war film ever in which no one dies.

India’s Captain Rana (Sharman Joshi) and Pakistan’s Captain Qureshi (Jaaved Jafferi) are at a desolate border outpost, passing the time trading insults or playing antakshari.  They don’t want war, because, as the dialogue pedantically explains several times, Indians and Pakistani are bhai-bhai. The fault lies with war-mongering superpowers looking for arms sales, and corrupt politicians on both sides, getting their cut.  All four slimeballs are played by Dalip Tahil, an amusing if obvious touch.

 A TV reporter called Rut Dutta (Soha Ali Khan), inspired by you-know-who, comes to the desert army camp to report on impending war. The Indian minister has leaked information to her, in return for a fudged story that makes it look like he was on the spot when the war broke out.

But Rut and Rana fall in love, they want to stop the war, and take the help of the 'enemy' to pull the plug on the politicians’ evil plans. It is the media, if you please, that acts as peacemaker.

Haider tries hard to extract laughs—like the unrelated track of three clueless Afghan infiltrators, as a running gag. It’s okay to make fun of the enemy in a comedy, but surely Pakistani soldiers are not starved and forced to fight on an empty stomach!  China gets a battering too, as the instigator of war and producer of substandard goods—including bombs that don’t go off.

No noteworthy performance, except for Jaaved Jafferi trying to do his bit dutifully. Tacky in every way, this one’s headed straight to the home viewing rack.


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