The good part is Shah Rukh Khan doesn’t ham his way through this one. He actually acts. He overdoes it, but not for a single second in his film is he glamorous. But that’s the good part. Here is the weird part. A woman lives with a man, and can’t recognize him when he shave off his mustache. I mean, really.
To be fair the film has its interesting points. Unlike the usual Yash Raj film on Punjabi romance, it isn’t fixated on endless fields of yellow, or the usual large joint family. Nor is Amritsar shown as this beautiful lovely place. Yes, it’s lovely, but it has its narrow streets and the occasional pile of cowdung. The heroine at most points doesn’t wear anything too filmi or flashy, she usually wears these lovely chikan kurtis and chappals. Except when she’s in a dance studio. Man, then she transforms into spandex-clad-hottie. And I mean spandex like the kinds that probably gets stuck between your ass cheeks.
The story goes something like this. Girl’s father has heart attack because girl’s fiance dies. Girl’s father makes Loser Type Man (LTM) marry an alarmingly young nubile Girl. There’s no coercion involved. Just emotional blackmail. (Which is like way better than holding the Girl at gunpoint no?). Well Girl is nice to LTM but tell him she can’t love him. In a moment of madness LTM undergoes a make-over and joins the Girl at dance studio. Girl sorta falls in love with the Made-Over Man (MOM). The Girl has to choose between LTM and MOM. Of course LTM and MOM are the same guy, and in all his chauvinistic fervor he decides that she must pick the boring version over the exciting version, otherwise it just isn’t love. The bit that just makes you go mad with worry for the girl’s eyesight is the fact that despite standing 10 inches away from MOM and LTM she can’t make out that they’re the same man.
The guy who should have had a far meatier part is Vinay Pathak. On an average, he is wasted in mainstream Bollywood cinema, because he tends to play a flunkey. On his own, he shines in films. (Watch Dasvidaniya for seeing him shine for instance). But he’s so brilliant, and provides a lot of comic relief to an otherwise very twisted film.
Oh, and I don’t know what’s happening to Bollywood, but sometimes women are actually portrayed nicely. Like the Girl who rides the bike in a very killer chase sequence. Of course, the flip side is that she sits at home doing nothing, and her role can be summed up as – Lose Boyfriend, Lose Father, Marry, Cook, Dance, Cook, Dance, Cry. But the saving grace is that she’s not the overly-domesticated type. Which is sort of nice.
The film isn’t all bad. Some bits are funny. Some are cute. But mostly the fundamental premise is so perplexing that you spend an inordinate amount of time wondering how even on a film set, such lapse of logic is possible. The self-referencing in Yash Raj films is a bit much though. I mean, once in a while it’s funny. But a constant referral makes the film sound like one of those young testosterone filled boys in Delhi who get caught speeding. They storm out of the car and ask you “Do you know who my father/ uncle/ other random male relative is?”. And that’s what the film does.
I wouldn’t say the film sucked. But it came real close. And this song still has me humming.