Friday, April 08, 2011

Thank You (थैंक यू)

You Will Not Know What Hit You

It's been rather quiet on the Bollywood mainstream front given the build up and subsequent hangover with India winning the Cricket World Cup, but I suppose releases will be back on track soon, with one of the earliest off the blocks being Anees Bazmee's Thank You, a typical comedy broaching on the topic of marriage infidelity starring one of the most hardworking and overexposed stars in Akshay Kumar (clocking two appearances in feature films this year) in an ensemble together with Bobby Deol, Suniel Shetty, Irrfan Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Celina Jaitley and Rimi Sen.

So shouldn't it sound like fun, given a bevy of stars in situational set ups about philandering husbands who fool around behind their wives' backs, and having their own support group set up as credible alibis. Bobby Deol's Raj manages to fool his wife Sanjana (Sonam Kapoor) with his sweet nothings, his boss Vikram (Irrfan Khan) overpowers his submissive wife Karthika (Rimi Sen) with unreasonable demands, probably because the latter wants to continue enjoying the high life thanks to her husband's booming luxury yacht business. Then there's Suniel Shetty as Yogi, perhaps the least skillful of the lot, being caught out by wife Radha (Celina Jaitley), and also because of the latter's engagement of a private investigator Kishen (Akshay Kumar) who she introduces to Sanjana to wake the simpleton to see beyond the wool pulled over her eyes.

Honestly, the first half of the film before the interval is the stronger portion of the story, and probably where it's most fun given the interesting battle of wits premise set, even though it was not exploited to the full extent. With Radha and Sanjana reluctantly engaging Kishen's services, the latter is adamant in exposing the three husbands in one fell swoop, but discovers that the counter-brilliance of the mastermind Vikram won't make this an easy walk in the park. Strategies get employed involving technology, divide and conquer tactics to make the guys turn on one another, and frankly the set comedic pieces hit more than missed. The complication arises when the guys also engages Kishen's services, and find out that he too is a ladies man, though his loyalties, under wraps, belong to his earlier employers.

A small romantic subplot also involved Kishen and Sanjana with a hint of a conflict of interest from the get go that was cursory at best, and the remaining saving grace of the film belonged to the chemistry between Irrfan and Bobby Deol as buddies who find their lifestyle under threat. But it all spiraled downward after the interval with plenty of melodrama being poured into it such as the tired and silly suicide attempt of Sanjana at the Niagara Falls (this was partly shot in Toronto and Vancouver), and when Kishen progresses into his next role as a pseudo-marriage counsellor out to teach the guys a thing or two about fidelity, and reconciliation. However I suspect that the jokes here were less slapstick and direct, relying on funny dialogue that got lost in translation through the subtitles, which was a pity for non-Hindi speakers like myself.

Song and dance sequences were nothing to shout about unfortunately, even with Mallika Sherawat popping up as an item girl in Razia. No subtitles came with the lyrics to the songs, so I'm left to my own devices to determine what shenanigans the characters were into. Would have been a much engaging film if the second half managed to keep pace with the eclectic first, but instead opting for a more conventional approach and finale that makes you wonder why the females can't just walk out of a relationship that is already on rocky grounds no thanks to mistrust and dishonesty, lessons learnt notwithstanding.

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