Hindi Film Review
Pleasant.. but imperfect
Film: What The Fish?
Cast: Dimple Kapadia, Manu Rishi Chadha, Anand Tiwari, Geetika Tyagi
Director: Gurmmeet Singh
Rating: * *
Bollywood filmmakers love to reminisce about their misspent youth (on the big screen) but unfortunately for the audience it does not translate into any form of entertainment. Tapping into feel good experiences can only be beneficial if the writing is sharp and witty enough to translate into a full-fledged comedy. Gurmmeet (Warning)Singh’s second film is a lack-a-daisal exercise at comedy without much entertainment value to it. Yes, it has seemingly interesting characters but none of them fulfill the promise of the their individual premises. So all you get is a wayward half-baked tale of a cranky, eccentric, cantankerous Sudha Mishra a.k.a Mausi(Dimple Kapadia) and her brush with youthful misdemeanors; courtesy her niece, the niece’s boyfriend Sumeet(Sumit Suri) and his many lay-a-bout friends who mess about in Mausi’s pristine apartment under the pretext of caretaking it while she is away on a month long holiday, spending it with her son and his firang wife, in the US. Mausi’s most prized possessions are Mishti- her pet fish, a carefully tended money plant , inviolate bed and personal toilet( which she doesn’t allow anyone else to use) – and she leaves instructions clearly stating the routine, feed measures, limited usage of her property. But Sumeet, who is entrusted with the responsibility thanks to his girl-friend’s (month long?) shoot for an ad-film, finds it difficult to refuse his friends-in-need and as a result creates situations which put at risk, Sudha Mausi’s most prized and valued possessions.
The situation is ripe for some laughs but the writing (script) is so lackluster and devoid of humor that it’s just not funny –instead you get exasperated by the shenanigans of the many quirky characters who use Sudha Mausi’s premises as a launch-pad for their own personal extraneous activities. The use of Haryanvi to signify cross-state border influences only makes it painful to decipher. The promising premise is frittered away in undignified expressions. Toilet humor adds more misery to the narrative and unlikely plot turns make it all look ridiculous. The characters are never fleshed out, the plotting is decidedly indistinct and the performances quite simply toonish.
The lack of light-hearted moments makes it that much more disengaging. The music and performances are also not up to comedy standards. Despite the 107 minute runtime( short by Bollywood standards) the going is not as smooth-sailing or laugh-happy as it should have been. The low-on humor treatment renders the narrative tedious. Gurmeet’s lack of flair in the directorial department, is also a cause for complaint. Thankfully there are no loud moments to drag you down so the overall effect is just about pleasant..but of course, imperfect too!