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|March 31, 2000||
One hoped Hera Pheri would be one of those. But unfortunately, it isn't. What can you say about a movie whose plot revolves solely around a wrong number? Or a movie whose lyricist was struck with writer’s block? Or one whose music makes you long for the dialogues?
The storyline, if one may call it that, revolves around three ordinary people -- Shyam (Sunil Shetty), Raju (Akshay Kumar) and Bapu Rao (Paresh Rawal). Shyam comes to the city seeking a job in the same bank his father worked in and finds himself competing with Anuradha (Tabu) for it.
He gets accommodation in Rao's house. Rao is a large hearted, debt-stricken alcoholic who owns a garage. Raju also happens to stay with Rawal. His mother is under the illusion that he is a wealthy businessman in Calcutta, not realising that her son does odd jobs and stays in the same city of Bombay.
Anuradha, who has to support her ailing mother and siblings, is also struggling to make ends meet. Seeing her plight, Shyam magnanimously lets her take up the job he was in line for. The bottom line: they all desperately need money.
So far so good… now let’s get down to the part of the movie that defies all logic and probability. Post-interval has a wrong number, a kidnapping in which the three musketeers get involved, a truck full of Sardarjis, goons in military attire in totally non-military surroundings, a grateful grandfather, a conscientious police commissioner and a python around a muscle man’s (no, not Akshay Kumar) neck -- do you need to hear more?
The picturisation leaves a lot to be desired for. Akshay Kumar has been made to look like he's part of a travel brochure the way he has been captured against various exotic backdrops.
Coming down to the music by Anu Malik, ‘down’ is the key word here. Calling it irrelevant and painful would be an understatement. Through one of the songs, Main ladki paa paa, one had to constantly remind oneself that Tabu is an award-winning actress of fine calibre, to make excuses for her ridiculous outfits and the inane lyrics. The lyricist (Sameer), as we said earlier, must have been suffering from a severe case of writer’s block. All the songs contain meaningless sounds like Huuuuu, Chanchanaaa, Tuuuruuu, Puuuu, Poooo, Chukumaaa, Kitikitna -- doesn’t anyone believe in coherence anymore?
Of the cast, the movie belongs entirely to Paresh Rawal. Whatever laughter the film solicits is solely due to him. He has impeccable timing and a natural flair for comedy. A pity his talent wasn’t showcased in a better-narrated movie. As for Akshay Kumar, will someone please inform him that cavorting around in expensive fancy cars does nothing for him in the histrionics department? The same goes for Sunil Shetty -- he is as emotive as a piece of wood. Punching people’s daylights brings out the best in both of them.
Gulshan Grover as the bad guy, Kabira, is his usual menacing self, but he fails to make an impact. Tabu is graceful and dignified through most of the film -- we’ll overlook that one deplorable song. Om Puri, in a special appearance, does his role with aplomb, but is again wasted in this movie. Namrata Shirodkar has a one-song appearance. Smart woman -- she can’t be blamed if the movie does badly!
Director Priyadarshan should have paid more attention to the presentation of the film and its finer details. For instance, the film is unintentionally hilarious when, during one of the songs, Akshay is shown playing American football dressed in white tights, wearing a cricket helmet and doing the famous Haka dance synonymous with the ‘All Blacks’ rugby team! Strange, the picturisation and music are not up to the mark, considering the undeniably important role they play in Hindi movies.
In a nutshell -- if you’re a Paresh Rawal buff, then go ahead and book yourself a theatre seat. If you’re not and still want to see the movie, do it so at your own risk!
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