Mister Mummy is neither a comedy nor an emotional drama, observes Deepa Gahlot.
In 1994, Ivan Reitman directed Junior, a film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, in which a scientist working on a fertility drug tests it on himself and finds himself pregnant.
The very idea of the huge muscular action hero with a protruding tummy was enough to raise a chuckle.
The star, not known for his acting prowess, won a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as an expecting parent (as did co-star Emma Thompson), with all the hormonal and emotional turbulence a woman goes through during pregnancy.
Riteish Deshmukh tries this stunt in Shaad Ali's Mister Mummy, to disastrous effect!
This one seems closer in plot, however, to the 2013 comedy Sympathy Pains.
He plays Amol, a physical training coach in a British school (where, of course, everyone speaks Hindi), who hates children and they detest him in return. His wife Gugloo (a badly styled Genelia D'Souza) craves a child, so do both their families.
So when she does get pregnant in spite of precautions, he is so enraged that she walks out of the house.
Soon he starts to experience the symptoms of pregnancy, nausea, mood swings, weight gain,etc, and after conducting all tests, the nutty family doctor Satsangi (Mahesh Manjrekar) reveals to a shocked Amol that he is pregnant, and is immediately sworn to secrecy. (In the real world, a doctor like that would be disbarred and possibly arrested!)
After establishing this quirky premise, Director Shaad Ali, who has also co-written the film with Ananya Sharma, does not know what to do with it.
So Amol walks around with his growing tummy and baffled expression, singing and dancing to a song that goes Papa Pet Se.
There is very little interaction between Amol and Gugloo, all he does is make blank calls to her, unable to bring himself to apologise.
The film is neither a comedy -- though Manjrekar with his gay act tries to be funny -- nor an emotional drama of an estranged couple still in love.
The supporting cast -- comprising Ila Arun as Amol's mother, Rakesh Bedi and Kiran Juneja as Gugloo's parents and a trouble maker called Khargosh -- were probably told to go ahead and do their own thing because the director could not be bothered.
In a society where childbirth is such a revered event but men take very little interest in rearing their offspring, there was potential for a tender yet uproarious story about a man learning a few lessons on what parenthood means.
The film, shot apathetically on lovely British locations, has an incomplete feel about it.
Hardly any commercial Indian feature film comes in at under two hours, like this one. Even the short running time is punishing for the audience. (If it weren't for a few necking young couples, the suburban hall would not be able to drum up the requisite number to run the show.)
There is a scientific and perfectly credible explanation to what Amol goes through, but by the time it comes, it hardly matters.
The exit door looks more inviting.