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This article was first published 12 years ago  » Movies » Review: I Am Singh is laughably amateur

Review: I Am Singh is laughably amateur

By Ankur Pathak
December 02, 2011 15:18 IST
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Ankur Pathak doesn't even know how a film like this makes it to the theatres

The film opens with its title imprinted on the bottom stripes of the American flag. And then an old lady, who eventually will become the centre of all despair in the world, addresses the audience sitting hopelessly at the site in Lower Manhattan where the twin towers were destroyed by airplanes.

"Isse Ground Zero kehte hain... yahan pe do khoobsoorat imaaratein hua kartee thi," she says in a tone reminiscent of teleshopping advertisements. "Main apni kahani aap se share karna chahti hun," she says, giving us no choice but to learn how the American tragedy has had a devastating effect on her family, without them being even remotely injured in the disaster.

Later, her husband is hospitalised, one son has mysteriously vanished, while the other is already dead. Now the third one must come from India to investigate how his family has been victimised for no clear reason.

He goes to an award-winning LA police officer who tells him, "
Na, na, don't bother, have a naayce day."

Son's looking for jawaab and two random strangers claim to be eye-witnesses. It is revealed that there is an underground gang of racists, who appear to be a cross between Lord Voldemort and Caribbean pirates, and who have names like Blind Nicholas Stone. In broad daylight, they pump bullets into Asians, their motto being, "
We are at War, Kill 'em All".

Meanwhile the India-returned son is a Sunny Deol worshipper. He yells even when he has to talk, his expression is always aggressive, and bashing ten well-armed goons is easy for him. When he learns that the goras think the Sikhs are Afghans and Arabs, he seriously comments, "Inka to history-geography ka bada kamzoor sense hai." Sharp observation, sir.

They all live in enviably sprawling bungalows, where they have their motivated rendezvous to chalk out the next plan of action. One hilarious sequence involves 'Hollywood' in the backdrop. Phew! Also they go to night-clubs where Daler Mehendi croons, and clueless, busty firangs flaunt their moves.

When nothing works for the tragedy-struck family, they hire an attorney called Amelia White, who is the love interest of our hero.

It is mysterious how this kind of film, with a seemingly noble agenda, can land up in such highly unskilled hands. The film is laughably amateur, trivialising a sombre issue like racial discrimination.

The direction is so incompetent that Punit Issar resorts to sunrise and sunset to metaphorically represent cheer and gloom. When the film runs out of topics to propagate, they bring out marches and protests which talk about the duplicity of Americans and Russian, nuclear superiority, imaginary weapons of mass destructions, human civil rights commission…the sky is the limit.

In between all this is some religious commentary about how love, peace, brotherhood, compassion, non-violence is the means to end all misfortune.

The film wants us to feel the world is a hopeless place but you end up laughing uncontrollably at sequences meant to evoke angst and sympathy.

The cast is universally bad, and in competition with each other to snatch the trophy of 'Most Unconvincing Performer'. Plenty of choices, so the jury is confused. We will go with the little kid who is so annoying even his granny would want to bash him--off-screen of course. He adds to this depressed old lady's misery by asking questions like,
"Papa…ghar kab aayeinge jail se, aur dada kab aayenge hospital se?"

Before the gloom turns contagious, it's time to exit this claptrap. I don't know how a film like this makes it to the theatres, without the exercise of any quality control.

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Ankur Pathak in Mumbai