We all know that Gauri Khan is a rich producer. That is amply evident with the way all of her films are “mounted.” We also know that her films are of SRK, with SRK and for drones of SRK followers. What we did hope though, was that all of the above would not come at the price of the audience’s intelligence.
We all know Farah Khan’s love for the OTT. That is amply evident from every frame of her films. We also know her allegiance to the Manmohan Desai school of film making. What cannot be undone though, is that she is related to Sajid Khan. One Farah, nine Sajids (3 x 3) and throw in a “joker” in the mix for good measure, and you have a family more deadly than the Corleones, in their own sadistic way.
That out of my system, let us get down to the subject at hand. Aside from inducing a few guffaws here and there (owing to Farah’s unique way of lampooning yesteryear cinema and her numerous allusions to industry-in jokes), HNY is quite an awful film. Having said that, it is still better than her own last effort and nine times better than her brother’s last three efforts.
So, we have a Don 2 hungover SRK assembling a team of losers, in the quest for a high profile heist with a back-story that takes an eternity to unfold. The premise in itself would make for an interesting set piece in the hands of a skilled director. However, with Farah wielding the microphone and the editor on vacation for Diwali, it turns out to be a long, long directionless and fairly silly pastiche of sights and sounds.
Farah though does her bit by borrowing character after character, heavily from various sources, turning them into imbecile caricatures that probably populate the world, as seen by her and her brother. The most unforgivable though, is Jamie-Lee Curtis’ brilliant portrayal of the foreign language obsessed Wanda in the 1988 British classic, A Fish Called Wanda, played here by-the-way, by the gorgeous Deepika. In all honesty, Deepika does a decent job, but there simply is no meat in the role. For once (and I never thought I would say this), I cringed everytime B. Irani hammed it up as the safe-cracking bumbling Parsee. An actor of his mettle being wasted thus, is blasphemous. Sonu Sood was passably-good and Vivan Shah went by un-noticed (which I suppose is good). Apart from a few hummable tunes, the music is passable too.
The real show-stealer here is AB Jr. Like a wild card among the pack, he gets full freedom to be himself, exercising his comic chops to the fullest. It is he, who gives the film a few sparks that it desperately needs. Not since playing the brat-ish, rich and loveless husband in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, have I seen him have so much fun in front of the camera. And it is his infectious energy that props a sagging, winding and frankly imbecile script, from falling completely apart.
That said, let us move to the reason the film was supposedly made, aka SRK. Now I’m not an SRK fan, but his turns in Chak De India and Swades were par excellence. And I must admit I quite enjoyed his OTT self obsessed rendition of Akhtar’s Don, indulgent as it was. However, with HNY, the star grunts, then grunts again, followed by the 8-pack abs, and another grunt, another close-shot of the abs, and another grunt. The pattern repeats. And in-between all this is a garbled message about India, dancing, patriotism and everything else that is bound to get the front rows hooting and rooting for the escapist vision of India that the makers hope would set their cash register ringing. And so it will, make no mistake. The film will be a block buster – King Khan will leave no stone unturned to ensure that.
Bharadwaj’s masterful adaptation of Hamlet will come and go, Adajania’s quirky gem will be remembered by a few, but the syndicate of Farah and SRK will turn HNY to the biggest money-spinner of the year (if it is not already).
Having said that, HNY is not the worst film playing at your nearest theatre, not by a mile. That credit must be given solely to Siddharth Anand, for putting together the atrocity called Bang Bang! Aside from the million things I was left questioning (including my own sanity) after being assaulted by the film, the biggest question facing me was this – why in the world would somebody want to remake a film that was bad to start with? Take a bow Siddharth Anand.
We finally got a glimpse of the much-awaited PK. Suffice to say that it keeps us guessing and waiting for more. We also got a peek into Dibakar Banerjee’s take on Byomkesh Bakshi – and boy, am I salivating!
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