With a title and the cast Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya boasted of, I was led to believe that this was going to be a hilarious film.
However, that proved to be a misnomer as the comic caper turned out to be a damp squib.
It began funnily enough, though. As the name suggests, the film primarily deals with the monetary problems faced by the average middle class breadwinner. Add to those money worries, three lazy, chauvinistic men and the problems are bound to be more than just monetary.
So, we have the Three Amigos -- Appu Khote (Johny Lever), Ravi (Chandrachur Singh) and Vijay (Vinay Anand) who work as mechanics. Back home, their better halves Vimla (Ketaki Dave), Meena (Tabu) and Anjali (Isha Koppikar), who also happen to be the best of friends, complete the pretty picture.
All is well until Jhumri (Juhi Chawla) and her husband Bhim (Govinda) (or Sajanwa as he is affectionately called) arrive at the scene. Non - conformists, they manage to scandalise the entire colony with the going-ons in their household. What with Jhumri going off to work and Sajanwa doing all the chores including the cooking and cleaning.
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Our original bharatiya naris are awestruck by this role reversal. With Jhumri as their role model the trio are inspired to seek employment themselves to help with the monthly bills. 'Over our dead bodies,' their orthodox bharatiya pati's chorus in unison.
What follows is confusion confounded.
A drug dealer, a bar girl and a bevy of policemen are added to the hodge-podge of the plot. The screenplay drags on, meandering aimlessly in many parts.
The dominant theme throughout the film is male chauvinism. In fact, after a while mard zaat and aurat zaat begin to grate on the nerves. And just when you think the women have finally got their act together, they return to being their old, whimpering, submissive selves again.
Apparently, director Raghavendra Rao wanted to drive a social message across but he seems to have confused the genres. He changes track from comedy to hysteria in the blink of an eyelid. And you are left pretty clueless.
The only saving grace in this otherwise ridiculous effort is the acting.
Tabu, Johny Lever and Ketaki Dave turn in good performances though Dave has been steoroetypically cast as the junagadi a ra ra character. Chandrachur Singh's performance is mediocre at best. And though Isha Koppikar and Vinay Anand pass muster, Anand tends to get theatrical at times.
The real scene stealers however are Govinda and Juhi. They light up the screen with their impeccable comic timing. Juhi makes a great comeback as Jhumri, the real star of the film. Pity then, that these two have the tiniest parts.
AAKR does have its humorous moments and you can't help but crack up. But these are few and far between. The songs, except for the title track are hindrances to the narrative as they crop up unexpectedly and unnecessarily.
Bottomline: Avoidable unless you are missing Ketaki Dave's accent terribly, now that she's no longer on the Idiot Box every night.