Sunday, January 27, 2008

SUNDAY: MOVIE REVIEW




Cast: Ajay Devgan, Ayesha Takia, Irfaan Khan, Arshad Warsi, Mukesh Tiwari
Director: Rohit Shetty
Runtime:
Rating: **1/2
Genre: Thriller, Comedy

Irfaan Khan, one might argue, is India’s best actor and his decision to play the character he does is more a reflection of the growing real estate prices than the phenomenal talent he possesses. Here, he puts it to comedic effect, one that would possibly have been executed, with great degree of energy, by Johnny Lever a decade back. Not that he isn’t good here, for all his talent he can even make staring at a blank screen engaging. He plays Kumar, a wannabe actor who does impersonations of popular Hindi cinema characters, and he is supposedly driven to his auditions by his good friend Ballu (Arshad Warsi), a cab driver. During one of those drives, back from a scary play, dressed in Count Dracula’s traditional attire, his character seems to be quite elated at the audience’s euphoric response. Ballu confirms that, and congratulates him on that wonderful comedy. Kumar is taken aback by surprise, for it was by intention a scary act. Now there’s nothing remotely novel there (the gag best executed in an episode of Jaspal Bhatti’s Flop Show), or for that matter funny, but the way it is done doesn’t render it painful either.
And that is the way this film feels about itself, and ends up as. Look, you wouldn’t exactly have people lining up to use ‘Sunday’ and ‘awards’ in the same sentence, but then you wouldn’t be having them use ‘reimbursement’ either. One way or the other, the film doesn’t give a hoot in hell about what it is supposed to do with its plot, which some might gripe, highbrowed, could have been engineered in a significantly better manner to create a solid whodunit. It just wishes to have fun, it isn’t remotely self-serious, and none of it is done at the cost of us, giving a jolly good time while we’re in there. In that, it feels like a timer-driven old Hindi film, the mood changing with every ring of the bell.
Sehar Thapar (Ayesha Takia) is at the crux of Sunday, an animation dubbing artist who seems to have momentary lapses of forgetfulness. The film, though, seems to be grappling with the option of magnifying it into a full blown case of amnesia. Not that it does anything with that, but it is one strand it hopes you’ll cling on to while it unravels its plot, seemingly revolving around a missing day from Sehar’s memory bank. She walks into a disco along with her roomie Ritu (Anjana Sukhani) on a Saturday evening, she boozes, and a nice little dance item ensues. For all those drooling tongues that have just come out at the mention of the dance item, I don’t think it is what you expected. And that is that. Sehar wakes up the other day, and bang it is Monday. And she doesn’t realize it until much later, when the running time is apt enough for ACP Rajveer Randhava (Ajay Devgan) to drop his comical farce and don the only thing he does best, play it straight and serious.
The performances, most of them, are workmanlike bordering on enjoyable. Ayesha Takia does what she has been doing all her career till now, and that’ll be the wafer-thin combination of boisterous and vulnerable, either of them achieved at the drop of a hat. The character assigned to her isn’t exactly multi-layered, for that matter none of them are. They’re what I usually term remote-control characters. Press of a button, and a new facet appears. But that is hardly a criticism that needs to be delivered to the film, when it doesn’t seem to be interested in it. Look, this is the way the script was written – Anukokunda Oka Roju was viewed, gags were written, and names were written around to deliver them. And that is how the execution looks – interchange either of the actors with and you would arrive at pretty much the same result, net. Arshad Warsi is second on the slapstick index, and it often works. Mukesh Tiwari, as Devgan’s sidekick is quite funny, having a rather hilarious moment or two.
Rohit Shetty is serviceable too, and he seems to have a flair for slapstick. There’s honesty in his ways, and there’ll be a day when he might direct a rather funny No Entry. But that is quite far down. He jumbles up the thriller part of the film, quite badly I might add. In a way, it turns out to be good, you know, for the overall tone of the movie for there are numerous ridiculous developments that seem to beg for laughter derived out of unintentional humor. Big moment is the climax, where I laughed out loud and a few faces turned around. I wouldn’t say he is uncomfortable with a thriller; he obviously made a serviceable one in Zameen. But this sure doesn’t look like it. He really needs to get the services of a good editor; the film, especially in its second half feels like running in a marathon, where the comedy serves as the booster.
As I said, this is average cinema. I wouldn’t be bothered too much, either way, with titles of this kind. Not exactly life-changing, nor hair-tearing. One thing bothered me though, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the film per se. There’s a sequence, which involves Takia’s character dubbing for some animated characters on some environmental issue. It is her introductory scene, if I remember correctly, and she, with great aplomb animatedly dubs the voices. And that scene is a microcosm of why we make such lackluster animations. Takia, voicing what looked like an old lion, coughs as the clichéd old figure would. She continues in the same rhyme, for other characters, each word uttered slower than a snail would take its next step, neatly ticking each checkbox what they assume children would laugh at. Look, children might laugh at it, but children will laugh at anything. When an animation is created, it should be enjoyable to adults too.

1 comment:

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