A short Marathi film called Gandh has been turned into 138 mins of unwatchable Hindi cinema. Blame it on Vidya Balan for making raunchy south Indian dancing the flavour of the season with an out-of-shape heroine making it even more distasteful.
The plot: A Labrador sniffs out what it desires and goes after it. Substitute a middle class woman in the marriage market for the Lab and you get the dirty picture as Meenaxi (Rani Mukherjee) literally puts her nose to use by rejecting the better suitor (Subodh Bhave) picked by her parents to tail Surya (Prithviraj) all over town.
The good: Totally difficult to find anything redeeming in this frustrating experience. Oh yes, the strays adopted by Meenaxi’s brother Nana (Amey Wagh) are cute. And Prithviraj as Surya is likeable strictly in the last portion on the bike where his red eyes have strangely disappeared.
The bad: Ah, here’s where we can get really informative. Firstly, the Walter Mitty thought of going into fantasy world is so last century, it stopped making it to comedy grade eons ago. Writer-director Sachin Kundalkar gets it wrong from the first frame as Meenaxi breaks into a variety of Bollywood dances and a voice-over announces the title of each film in case you haven’t got it. That the audience is dumb seems to be Sachin’s premise all through as he clobbers the viewer with an array of dysfunctional characters and all of them screech ear-splittingly. From Meenaxi (Rani, rather irritating almost all through) and her high decibel mother (Nirmiti Sawant) who is happy to have a community garbage bin placed at her gate, father (Satish Alekar) who smokes four cigarettes at one go and grandmother (Jyoti Subhash) in a motorised wheelchair and scary gold teeth that have been bequeathed to Meenaxi, Sachin serves them all like a platter of wit.
Even the parents of a seemingly normal fiancé burst into inexplicable laughter over ordering a double bed for their son’s room – and that’s supposed to be funny too. The most annoying twosome is, however, the totally gross colleague Mynah (Anita Date) with large, ugly buck teeth, red ugly boots, weird ugly hairstyle...you get the ugly picture now and it gets uglier when she teams up with Meenaxi’s brother Nana to make the ugliest romance on screen. Now go tickle yourself at this Lady Gaga rip off which is more grotesque than comic.
If the over-the-top characters are all uniformly slap-worthy and the humour is horrendous, there is more and those are the erotic fantasies that Meenaxi goes into which includes jelly dancing, sorry belly dancing. Unpardonably, there is one where she imagines Surya as a petrol pump attendant and there is a slow, suggestive shot of the hose pipe going into the tank of her scooty.
If the film itself does not connect with the audience, the director compounds it with a mix of dialogues in Hindi, Marathi and Tamil (sub-titles once in a while). Almost everything is inexplicable including the nice, normal fiancé who goes ahead with the engagement after she has run away from his house, acted strangely when he fetched up at her college and is, at all times, clearly not all there. It goes on right up to the sagai (engagement) where the entrance has garbage and the fiancé’s family waits endlessly for Meenaxi to arrive, even falling asleep at the venue, instead of stomping off in disgust. But we forget, this is a Sachin Kundalkar comedy.
Overall: Do we have to spell it out?
– Bharathi S Pradhan