Tuesday, December 14, 2010

#4: Phas Gaya Re Obama

On a Tuesday night, if a movie is running to a packed house in Bengaluru, it says something about the movie.

In one line Phas Gaye Re Obama is a new age variant of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron. It's a two hour scathing satire that uses humor to highlight the effect of recession on a bunch of small-time kidnapping goons. The last cracking satire I had seen was Well Done Abba and even then it wasn't hard to ignore certain actors (read Sonali Kulkarni) that could've been done away with and in this regard PGRO is an outright exception. Each and every character plays their part to the T. You want to believe when Neha Dhupia enters that this won't be such a good idea. To let her play Munni, the female goon and nothing else was just one of symbols of restraint that writer-director Subhash Kapoor brilliantly uses all throughout to keep the script above all else.

Sample this:
1.)This is an entire movie about goons, robbers and the politic-criminal nexus and yet no bloodshed is shown.Except one funny scene where a guy accidentally shoots himself in his hand.

2.)Rajat Kapoor is returning from America after a number of years and thankfully no accent to exaggerate the fact that he's been a US Green Card holder for very many years.

3.)Equally refreshing is the fact that Rajat Kapoor doesn't get any last minute pangs to stay back in India and call his family back.It takes a highly evolved director to not give into any of these temptations and the director does just that.

The entire plot is actually a dexterous mirroring of the collapse of American financial institutions through a passing-the-buck kind of a kidnapping of a supposedly rich Indian American who himself is bordering on the brink of bankruptcy. (To explain, what I just wrote is to give away the movie- so...) Rajat Kapoor, Sanjay Mishra, Manu Rishi excel in their respective characters and neatly blend with their accents, dressing and mannerisms in the milieu of western U.P . Whether it's the movie's stunning one-liners such as 'Itne ki toh thukaai bhi nahi huyee hain, jitne ka lahanga phat gaya...' or the absolutely hilarious 5 minute appearance by an English teacher reprimanding Manu Rishi for his bad behavior in class, every minute of the movie has the audience glued to the screen.

To make the script of a good comedy movie great, the element of wit has to shine through and it is in this department that PGRO exceeds itself. I didn't think the year would end with any movie surpassing Well Done Abba as the best comedy of the year. The fact is Phas Gaya Re Obama does.

Rating: 8.2/10

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