(Published in The Sunday Guardian, on 30 September 2012, retrieved from http://www.sunday-guardian.com/masala-art/rawal-revelry-not-enough)
Cast: Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty, and others
Director: Umesh Shukla
Rating: 2.5 stars
I blame it on the trailer for hiking up expectations. When you have Paresh Rawal rattling off, “Ek dozen bade peyt wale Ganpati de, aath body builder Hanuman de, dhai sau wala Krishna de, paanch-tiger wale de, teen dozen ho gaye, teen Sai Baba toh bonus mein milega kya?”, you laugh. Well, unless you’re the politician who sued him. The problem is, witty lines and lovely dialogue delivery from one actor can’t carry a two-and-a-half-hour movie.
The premise of the story has potential – Kanjilal Mehta owns an antique shop in Chor Bazaar, where he recycles religious ware with Gujarati business acumen, preying on superstition and sentiment. When the wrath of God, a turn of fate, or simply inclement weather deals him a blow, he ends up taking Bhagwan to court over an insurance policy loophole.
When an atheist strives to prove God exists, the Godmen – and woman – come into the picture. Swami Leeladhar (Mithun Chakraborty), Siddheshwar (Govind Namdeo) and Gopi Maiyya (Poonam Jhawer) arrive with their USPs – Leeladhar’s supple fingers, Siddheshwar’s temper tantrums and the Maiyya’s chiffon saris and tight cholis.
Kanjibhai’s run-ins with them made me laugh, mainly because of Rawal’s brilliant execution. Warned that he could boil in hell, he retorts, “Main aadmi hoon ya pakora?” But except Rawal and Chakraborty, everyone hams his or her way through the film. The silly sound effects are annoying. I may have been more indulgent with Akshay Kumar as “Krishna Vasudev Yadav” if he did three goofy roles a year, instead of one every month.
Upon Kumar’s entry – complete with a superbike – the comedy becomes laborious. When Kanjilal refuses to acknowledge that someone wearing a suit could be “Hamare Bhagwan”, Yadav replies with Kumar’s trademark half-smile, “Abhi mera latest photo Facebook pe update nahi hua.” I mean, isn’t this, like, four years too late for that dig? When he plays the flute, Kanjilal cries out, “O Hari Prasad! O Chaurasia!” Of course, that had the first row and college kids in hysterics.
Why the industry continues to believe that Sonakshi Sinha is item number material is beyond me. To begin with, she can’t dance – unless humping the air qualifies. If she must “dance”, she shouldn’t be wearing costumes that make her look larger than her partner. And if she must have a partner, it shouldn’t be Prabhu Deva, whom even Madhuri Dixit couldn’t hold her own against.
The Verdict: Rawal sparkles, but the screenplay and cinematic jazz drag down what could have been a tight comedy.