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Sukanya Verma

A still from Maan Gaye Mughal-E-Azam.
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August 22, 2008 17:30 IST

Boredom leads to nitpicking. A discovery I made some few hours ago whilst enduring Sanjay Chhel's chew-my-brains brand of farcical comedy, Maan Gaye Mughal-E-Azam.

In those brief eight reels, the witty writer turned unimpressive filmmaker tries to cram in so much; it soon begins to resemble an All-You-Can-Eat buffet.  

As a consequence of which, one can never really figure out what this caper is truly about. Is it a spoof on Mughal-E-Azam and Bollywood's penchant for Bhais? Is it a B-grade exposition on extra-marital affairs? Is it a satire so blatantly and miserably trying to ape the one-of-its-kind classic, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron? Is it a standard masala flick that dropped most of its masala on the way?  

A humble attempt to find out the same:

Set in 1993, in the coastal town of St Louise, Goa [Images] (surprisingly the makers hardly avail of its arresting backdrop), Maan Gaye Mughal-E-Azam, we presume, is trying to establish an extraordinary connection between Jihad-thirsty terrorists and an outrageous theatre company, Kalakar.  

To achieve this, Chhel spends pre-intermission concocting an obligatory romance between the seemingly jobless RAW officer (Rahul Bose) and Kalakar's eternal Anarkali (Mallika Sherawat [Images]) with a penchant for losing her contact lens and fooling around with rose-bearing men in spite of her much-married status. The husband in question can be best described as the Mughal-E-Ham (Paresh Rawal [Images]) of on-stage nautanki.

Just when you suppose this muddled-up mix is heading in the Meri Patni Sirf Meri Hai direction, it haphazardly gatecrashes into the world of villainous caricatures, menacing laughter, cheap wigs et al.

That translates to Haldi Hassan (Kay Kay Menon) a terrorist-in-the-garb-of-ghazal-singer (Sarfarosh anyone?) and Kayum Cable (Pawan Malhotra), an Ed Hardy-sporting hoodlum.

To think the film is set in 1993 and tattoo artist Ed Hardy began his clothing line only in 2002! Then again, reproducing old issues of Filmfare or India Today from the raddiwalah alone does not amount to faultless research and detail.

The only few times Maan Gaye� scores is when Chhel takes a break from rambling scenes and gaudily-picturised Mallika items to breathe humour with spontaneity.

Moments where a frustrated Kay Kay struggles to convey his fancy Urdu to Mallika or Paresh Rawal's earnest-faced foolhardiness while playing Emperor Akbar succeed in scooping out a one-off chuckle. Both the actors are exceptionally gifted to slip but the daft, messy script makes them do just that.

Ironically enough, Rawal's on screen avatar keeps grumbling about how Bollywood lacks the art of subtlety, the one quality entirely missing here. The script requires only Rawal to overact. Instead the entire cast goes overboard with their performance which seems to holler 'Look at me; I am a-c-t-i-n-g.'

Even the usually understated Rahul Bose [Images] appears totally out of sync. That he is inexcusably miscast goes without saying. Even the much-liked chemistry between him and Mallika, (previously witnessed in the runaway rom-com Pyaar Ke Side-Effects) seems to have lost all its effortless heat and exciting vibes.  

And no matter how many times Mallika gets under the shower, flutters those perfectly mascara-coated eyes or repeatedly flaunt her over-exposed assets, the magic is just not there. All she does is heave and sigh and moan and preen and pout and all those things that made Kimi Katkar a star.

Like its commonplace production values, chaotic screenplay, absent-minded storyline and bland soundtrack, Maan Gaye Mughal-E-Azam is a yawn-inducing exercise in misplaced overindulgence.

Rediff Rating: 

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