Saturday, April 11, 2015

Dharam Sankat Mein 

God Knows Best
Fuwad Khan's Dharam Sankat Mein gives due credit for its idea to The Infidel, however, years ago,  Yash Chopra'sDharmputra dealt with the same issue, but in a serious manner; this film takes the humorous route. Still, in these overly sensitive times, it is daring to even pick a subject that lampoons religion. OMG and PK got away, but not without some protest.
Paresh Rawal, plays an Ahmedabad-based Hindu businessman Dharam Trivedi, who may not be particularly devout, but has his prejudices (casually expressed) towards Muslims-- something that is not uncommon in Gujarat. Then, he discovers, after his mother dies and he opens her locker, that he was born Muslim and adopted by Hindu parents. He also discovers that his biological father is alive, but ill. He goes to the senior citizens' home to meet his father, but is told by the mulla (Murli Sharma) that he must learn to be a proper Muslim first.

He tries to get the hang of Islam (and tongue-twisting Urdu) from his neighbour, a lawyer Nawab Mehmood (Annu Kapoor). As it happens, Dharam’s son is in love with a girl whose parents are followers of an over-the-top Hindu godman, Neelanand Swami (Naseeruddin Shah), so he has to learn how to be a proper Hindu too.
What the film tries to convey is all very well-- does religion define a person?-- but that's all there is, so the gags start to run thin after a point. Of course, it makes fun of blind faith, religious fundamentalism, fraudulent godmen, but these are easy, cliched targets. To the film's credit, it does not take sides, every fad comes in for equal drubbing, which is always carefully calibrated, so as to refrain from offending anyone.
The three accomplished actors, Rawal, Shah and Kapoor are not at their best-- the film requires them to ham, just so that it can keep looking over its shoulder and saying, "Don't mind it."   If there was anything to mind, the censors already took care of it.


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