But recently, in the all-forgiving haze of post-Yuvvraaj Anil Kapoor pyaar, we were feeling a lot more... welcoming (COMEDY WHISTLE - TOOT TOOT!) to the film - especially after our reliable taste-sharer Filmi Girl gave it a positive review and we started listening to the soundtrack. Honestly, guys, the soundtrack is so fun - it's like a party in our ears and EVERYONE'S INVITED! "INSHAAAAAAA'ALLAH!" So we decided to give it another shot.
And the movie really works because of the most excellent bromance between our most lovable pair, Anil Kapoor and Nana Patekar.
And we're happy we did! Maybe it's our state of mind - rock bottom expectations, intense devotion towards Anil Kapoor, a long-simmering interest in Nana Patekar, and delight in cameos by Asrani (!) and Ranjeet (!!?!) - but we totally gobbled it up. If liking Anil Kapoor isn't a choice but a life philosophy (post coming soon to a PPCC near you), then Anil's "villain of old tradition" line that "furst impreson ij lasht impreson" can be extended to secund impresons bhi - ek dam jhakaas!
The film's two acts are distinct enough that many of our filmi-friendly work friends commented on the post-intermission decline, and we approached with temerity. Yet they really are equally ridiculous. The first act follows the antics of the sweet, sensitive Rajiv (Akshay Kumar) falling in love with the gorgeous Sanjana (Katrina Kaif). Rajiv's family - headed by his uncle (Paresh Rawal) and aunt (Supriya Karnik) - is obsessed with finding a "decent" family for Rajiv to marry into. Meanwhile, Sanjana's family - headed by her older brother Uday (Nana Patekar) and his dimwit buddy Majnu (Anil Kapoor) - are, of course, mafia dons. The first act's torturous narrative follows the various separations and reunions of the lovers as they try (and fail, repeatedly) to overcome these seemingly irreconcilable differences between the families so that they can get engaged. Much hilarity of the extreme slapstick variety ensues.
Some really OTT slapstick. Though when Akshay shrieks, "My whole family will be wiped out!" with the steering wheel in his hands, we laughed.
The second act begins with a new tack: since the differences between the two families are impossible, the lovers decide that the easiest task would be cleaning up the mafiosi Uday and Majnu from violent goons to upright citizens. To do this, they go for each mafioso's hidden "sensitive artist" - Uday's childhood obsession to become a film hero, and Majnu's passion for painting - meanwhile sending Rajiv's sister-in-law, Ishika (a very funny Mallika Sherawat), to stroke the mafiosi's egos and con them into pyaar.
The first act is therefore for fans of your standard, vanilla, comedy courtship between cutesie Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, where everyone who is less than pretty is relegated to a comic caricature in the background. The second act instead lets Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor take center-stage and relies on the kinda-painful, kinda-sweet and very funny ridiculing of the first act's increasingly incompetent-seeming villains. Watching the volatile and violent Uday and Majnu become slack-jawed, cooing fools was oddly cute - and this relies entirely on Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor, who dispense with all macho strutting and jump arms wide into some very silly antics (fearful Nana in a cowboy hat! Anil reverting to "HAH HEY! AW HYUK!" mode!).
Whadda pair a putzes, these two. And Mallika was hilarious and underused!
The dennoument devolves into a silly crisis surrounding the ultimate godfather, RDX (Feroz Khan), and his undead spoiled son, Lucky (???), and it seems the film's writer, Anees Bazmee, is fond of ending things on a cliffhanger (COMEDY WHISTLE TOOOOOT) - as in the previously PPCCed No Entry - though in this one he ups the ante by adding KILLER, RAGING BEES and everyone getting Morteined in the face. Nothing was making any sense anymore, but that's okay - we were already grateful for the occasional chuckles this silly, blameless film yoked. Plus, it had Om Puri as a narrator! Huzzah!
The random "AAAAH!! I'M COVERED IN BEES!!!" moment. A gem.
Anyway, while this film made us note how sweetly silly Akshay Kumar is (and how hard it is for us to reconcile his bespectacled goof persona with his buzz cut macho persona), we liked it because of Anil and Nana's excellent jodi power. These two were like aging Wayne and Garth or Bill and Ted, both more than a little ridiculous and completely, unabashedly in love with each other. They also played the excellent Apollonian vs. Dionysian card, with the Apollonian Nana Patekar a straight-laced, repressed nerd with pent-up rage ("Control, Uday! Control!") and perfectly aligned tuxedo jackets while the Dionysian Anil Kapoor is instead the type of guy who wildly bobbles his head while he talks and wildly swings his jacket while he dances. These guys need to hire themselves out for weddings! Or SEQUELS!
They even coordinate their outfits, CUTE. Side note but Anil wears a shark tooth necklace throughout the film that the PPCC also owns. He shops at Urban Outfitters too?! *PPCC glows*
We would recommend this, though only if you're in a particularly silly, tolerant mood. It's a low-brow populist comedy that doesn't aspire to much, and generally succeeds in being bubblegum nonsensical. Now can we get back to more serious discussions? SUGGESTED TOPIC: Are Anil Kapoor and Gary Oldman long-lost kin of passionate melting down and zany characters? We're not the first ones to think so. Mischief managed!