Saturday, March 07, 2009

Dhoondte Reh Jaoge


I could actually sum up this review in one title and wrap this up, seriously. As you would already know, Bollywood has its fair share of adaptations, and this one is a carbon copy of the musical The Producers, minus the many song and dance moments (surprise!) and retold in context with an India setting of course. The trailer would have given it all away, though I found it a novelty that it had coined the term (and perhaps I'm wrong here but it's the first time I'm hearing it) Flopbuster.

You can see the similarities with The Producers from the onset, with a has-been film producer under pressure to make some dough because of mounting debts. Raj Chopra (Paresh Rawal) is at his wits end and contemplates faking his own death just to shake off his creditors. Having made a string of 10 flops, he becomes box office poison, and to make ends meet he has to rely on his cunning to con everyday folks like cab drivers and store salespeople. Chartered accountant Anand Pawar (Kunal Kemmu) is an honest guy and gets fired from his job just because he refuses to turn a blind eye or to cook the books for his customers. Finding it a hard time to continue wooing his lady love, stage actress Neha (Soha Ali Khan), he gets to know Raj under unfriendly circumstances, though they both know they need each other if they were to execute their get rich quick scheme.

Which is of course to seek a busload of independent financiers for a new movie, with the conditions such that they cannot allow anyone else to know they are financing the film, and only get a return if the film makes money. In other words, get millions to produce a film on a pittance, and pocket the rest of dough. And to guarantee the film's failure from the onset, they hire the worst in every department, just to make sure the film sucks. Like casting a diva-ish hero who has seen better times, Aryan Kapoor (Sonu Sood), writer Parvez Asharraf (Johnny Lever in a spoof of ex-Pakistan president Parvez Musharraf) who is pro-Pakistan with a story of Sholay-Lagaan proportions literally, and placing the film rookie Neha as the heroine.

Things of course don't go according to plan, and this provides ample avenue for comedy. We have Aryan continuing his tantrums, Neha being star-struck, directors coming and going, the use of body doubles, and a whole host of improvisation and cheapened production values. As I mentioned earlier, the film is almost devoid of song-and-dance, save for 2 scenes which bring the cast to Malaysia (why I'm not sure, but you can recognize the landmarks and plenty of flag waving). Like a typical Masala movie, Dhoondte Reh Jaoge because of it length, allowed for the insertion of the pseudo-movie they had shot, which to me looked like a hilarious spaghetti movie, and if the movie's depiction of a participative audience is accurate, then that's something that I would like to experience for myself!

I would have preferred a darker ending, but this is Bollywood that we're talking about. If you're a fan of The Producers you would find this a little bit blasphemous and daring. Otherwise if you have no idea what to expect, then this film would give you an idea. It's not as hilarious as the trailer made it out to be, but the cast, especially Sonu Sood, all hammed it up perfectly to make this a tad bearable.

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