Saturday, June 10, 2006
Chup Chup ke - 2.5 stars
I saw Chup Chup ke yesterday. Even with my currently relaxed standards of Hindi film criticism, I found it a bit of a pain to sit through.
Parts are funny - Rajpal Yadav outshines Paresh Rawal by a mile and then some. But like Priyadarshan's 'Hulchul', much of the humour is loud and hammy. And film after film with the tolerable-but-nothing-fantastic Shahid Kapur-Kareena Kapoor jodi is hard to take.
The story in very brief: Jeet (Shahid Kapur) is a young man who's managed to rack up a debt of 13 lakhs 90 thousand to set up one failed business after another. To escape from his creditors, he jumps into the ocean - saying that his insurance policy should take care of their outstanding dues.
As luck would have it, he gets caught in a fisherman's net in Kolkata. Gundeya (Paresh Rawal) and Bandeya (Rajpal Yadav) take him to the hospital, discover the chit in his pocket with names of creditors. They think these folks owe him 13 lakhs 90 thousand and decide to help the fella recover the debts, hoping to claim a few lakhs for themselves.
Jeet pretends to be deaf and dumb - and some fairly funny scenes follow. Due to reasons too silly and yet too complicated to go into, Jeet and sidekick Bandeya end up at the house of a Gujarati family headed by Om Puri as servants.
This weird family enjoys kushti as much it enjoys its dadndiya and dhoklas. They also have so many clothes to wash that Rajpal Yadav remarks,"Idhar kitne log rehte hain? Ise zilla kyun nahin declare kar dete?"
It's one liners like this which made me chuckle, more than the situational comedy.
In this mad Gujarati family there's Kareena, an asli ki goongi girl, whose marriage was called off at the last moment. Her shaadi ka mandap is still standing, as brother Mangal Singh (Sunil Shetty ) has vowed it will be removed only when he finds another suitable boy for her.
I won't elaborate anymore, coz you can guess what ultimately happens. After several minor and major twists and turns, you have the Shahid-Kareena 'romance' (although it seems more like a 'cool way to get out of debt', if you ask me).
There is a creature called Pooja - Jeet's erstwhile fiancee - wailing in white over her 'dead' husband back in the village. But since that character is played by Sushma Reddy, you know how the film is going to end.
I guess what really turned me off the film is the feudal kind of family set up and how women are portrayed.
Whether it's Pooja or Kareena, both are just sitting there waiting for some guy to come and agree to marry them. I mean even Jeet's sister - who we get a very small glimpse of - is referred to as 'shaadi nahin hui hai, umar nikal gayi, ghar par baithi hai'.
Of course, it's Bollywood so stereotypes are unavoidable. But still.
The other problem is Priyadarshan films are not out and out comedy. They're comedy mixed with emotional speeches, tears and chest-beating. Some of this is in a comic vein, some serious. That does not quite work for me.
Of the actors, Rajpal Yadav is brilliant. Rest are ok. Sunil Shetty is saaaad! And oh, Kareena does not regain her voice at the end of the film - which means she is silent throughout.
That may be music to some ears because all the songs - except the one which is being played in the promos - don't qualify as music at all!
Wonder how this film compares to Phir Hera Pheri which was also released yesterday. Strangely both films have almost the same star cast and similar plots. In fact, the writer of Chup Chup ke is actually the director of Phir Hera Pheri.
I have a feeling, though, that Phir Hera Pheri is better.
Chup Chup ke gets 2.5 stars from me. The extra half star is only for Rajpal Yadav.
And on a parting note, can we please get over the use of people pretending to be deaf, dumb or blind in the name of comedy?