Mayank Shekhar's review: Shakal Pe Mat Ja


By Hindustan Times

Director: Shubh Mukherjee
Actors: Shubh Mukherjee, Raghuveer Yadav, Saurabh Shukla
Rating: *

Don’t judge a book by its cover. So this film’s title suggests: Shakal Pe Mat Jaa, don’t go by the looks. I see the hopeless looks on people’s faces as they emerge from this movie just as I’m about to enter its next show, and immediately wonder: Should I really go in? As luck would have it, I’m already in, holed up for hours, like the four main characters in this film.

We’re inside the theatre, of course, technically not allowed to get out. They’re inside an airport, caught by cops, because they were filming without permission shots of flights landing and taking off. The coppers are convinced these blokes are terrorists. You’re sure they’re just average Joes, plain nuts about some vague ideas about becoming famous, making movies. This is true for most of northwest Mumbai. Hence, this supposedly recycled rubbish.

Success of Ready produces Bodyguard. On the other end of the spectrum, acceptance of films like Delhi Belly, Tere Bin Laden, creates stuff like these: Paunchy ‘beardo’ in this gang of four uncontrollably farts out of indigestion (reminds you of Kunal Roy Kapur’s flatulent Nitin). Bin Laden makes an appearance as Omama, in the form of actor Zakir Hussain (takes you back to the awesome Pradhuman Singh in Osama gear).

We’re supposed to be at the Delhi international airport. It looks like a suburban shopping mall, with signage pasted with scotch-tapes on the walls. This airport is under attack by actual jehadi terrorists, from an outfit called Al Baqaeda. The basement is their base-camp. The way the screechy heads of Central Industrial Security Force (Raghuveer Yadav), Anti-terrorism squad (Saurabh Shukla) react to this problem; you’re likely to be scared away from taking flights for the rest of your life. Nothing makes sense, or is meant to.

This pic’s supposed to be a comedy. So what do you do? Look around for jokes. It’s a tough job, unless feeding a kid chili for chocolate counts for a gag, and constant references to toon pornstar Savita Bhabi in magazine form makes you fall off your chair.

It’s been a while inside the theatre, like it’s been for these dull guys at the airport. Lunacy has no limits. I’m told over Rs 2 crore have been spent on this. Which is good to know. With films like these finding their way out of cans, slowdown will never hit the entertainment economy. Everybody will find a job.

Writer-director casts himself as the hero Shah Rukh Khan. It turns into the ideal family film then, to be enjoyed by the filmmaker’s friends and family alone. I peer at the faces around me at the theatre. Of course, you shouldn’t go by their looks. Or reviews for that matter. Watch it yourself. Come on, you can do it.