Bhagam Bhag

This seems to be a bad time for me to consider watching a Hindi movie. Consider the last few movies I’ve watched:

1. Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna: I was on a bus from Hyderabad to Bangalore and they played it during the journey. I’ve never really considered jumping off a moving bus before, but I came close that night. I mean, heck, isn’t there something in the Geneva Convention that bans this sort of punishment?

2. Vivaah: Nothing happens in this movie. I mean nothing. The best thing I can say about it is that the term “comfortably numb” applies well to it. It doesn’t make you cringe as often as Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon, if that’s any consolation.

3. Baabul: Same as above, but with more melodrama, although maybe I should spell it “mellow-drama”. What the heck is happening here? Did the National Association of Insomniacs go petition the big Bollywood studios or something?

4. Dhoom 2: I remember reading somewhere that the most popular reason for making a sequel is that the first film made money. Unfortunately, in most cases, that’s where reason bails out and the suits take over. Dhoom 2 is one such debacle, a perfect example of form replacing content.

And now Bhagam Bhag, a comic caper I had pinned much of my hopes on. Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar, Priyadarshan at the helm, Govinda making a comeback… it all sounded good on paper. I should’ve read the signs more carefully: when the makers decide to include a “rap number” featuring the heroes at the last moment, it is usually because they saw the rushes and realized that the rest of the movie was crap.

The movie basically involves a troupe of performers in London to do a show. The heroine bails out at the last moment, so they search for a replacement. The replacement turns out to have suicidal tendencies, and immolates herself one night. But then it turns out that she’s not dead. And then… do you really want to hear the rest of this?

Now, I have no problems per se with the idea of a screwball plot that piles one contrivance on top of another. What I do have a problem with is this: the movie is simply not funny. I don’t remember laughing even once. I chuckled a couple of times, but that’s about it. Govinda appears desperate, trying to replace comic timing with perpetual annoyance. Paresh Rawal has precious little to do, and he does even less: as performances go, this one compares with Satish Shah playing a dead man in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, but with none of the comic potential. Only Akshay Kumar looks moderately alive – he’s the pick of a bad lot.

I guess the basic problem is this: the makers probably decided on the star cast first, and were so enamoured by the comic possibilities inherent in such a cast that they forgot to actually make the movie. Somebody’s got to remind these idiots that they have to do something in order to be funny, they can’t just exist and expect people to laugh.

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