Mayank Shekhar | Last Modified - Oct 12, 2012, 03:25 PM IST
There’s some merit in Bollywood movies not getting too specific with which part of India their main characters usually come from. The leading ladies and men can then get away playing their own selves. The audience doesn’t mind much.
Rani Mukherji’s been around in movies for about two decades. She comes with a certain baggage. She plays a working woman from a deeply conservative, hardcore Maharashtrian household in this film. It would take a lot of effort on her part to shed the heroine image and morph into the middle-class Meenakshi. Sometimes she tries. Sometimes she doesn’t. You remain distracted by her presence to start with. Given that the film doesn’t have an engaging enough story line to concentrate on instead, a character sketch after another doesn’t help.
Meenakshi works as a librarian at an arts college. Her co-worker at the library wears leather skirts, leggings, and ogles at naked pictures of John Abraham. Meenakshi herself is obsessed with the smell of one of the students. She follows him around. Several movies deal with a guy obsessed with a woman’s looks. Here, there are two women infatuated similarly by the male skin. They could be horny men. At least they behave no differently. I am not surprised the director’s a man too. The gaze remains truly male.
In a normal world, Meenakshi would be married to a simple Farooque Sheikh type man chosen for her by her parents. But she also lives in an alternate space, her imagination fuelled by Bollywood romances: “QSQT, HAHK, DDLJ, MPK.” She continues to stalk the man of her dreams. Her father smokes four cigarettes at one go. The brother takes care of all pet dogs in the neighbourhood. Grandmother is a loony, who zooms around in an electronic wheelchair. It’s a perfectly dysfunctional family where little makes sense.
Those used to viewing wonky diploma films and experimental shorts at various short film competitions would be familiar with a film like this. They usually sound funnier in narration than they look on screen, and ought to go straight to YouTube. This one is raised in size and proportion with item songs, top-line star cast, massive promotions, and a mainstream theatrical release. I feel sorry for Rani Mukherji fans, who are probably tearing their hair out at an expensive multiplex right now.