By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service
Film: "Mr Ya Miss"; Cast: Antara Mali, Aftab Shivdasani, Riteish Deshmukh, Bharat Dabholkar, Divya Dutta; Director: Antara Mali and Satchik Puranik; Rating: *
Antara Mali's directorial debut "Mr Ya Miss" is like a joke stretched too far.
A comedy of errors - it has an incorrigible skirt chaser Sanjay (Aftab Shivdasani, doing a mixture of Jim Carrey and Hrithik Roshan), who is bumped off by a bunch of girl friends and goes to heaven where lord Shiva (Ajinkya Deo) and goddess Parvati (Varsha Usgaonkar) decide to send him back as a woman... to get a taste of his own medicine.
So far so good. The co-directors give the initial flirt with the gender-bender a delicious enough twist. The scenes where Sanjay wakes up as Sanjana are a howl.
Antara putting her hand in her pants to find something amiss or peeping into her shirt to discover overnight developments are moments of muffled mirth. But how long can you laugh a man's struggle to come to terms with his changed sex?
After a while you wonder where the one-line joke is heading. Antara's over-the-top attempts to act like a man who wakes up to discover he is a woman are certainly a new way to interpret the sexual conundrum.
The actress has been stretching the parameters of commercial acting in "Road", "Naach" and now this film where she lets it all hang out when you wish she would hold back just that much to create a decent distance between the character and the audience. In the absence of that distance we are constantly weighed down by her exhausting efforts to get noticed.
There is some deft editing and a spunky music score by Amar Mohile. Soon the script and the characters run out of tricks and we are left looking at a gender-reversed plot that needs to get its act together desperately.
The narrative should have ended by intermission. The courtroom sequences that follow are so wheezy, you feel like the Sanjay-turned-into-Sanjana suffocated in women's lingerie.
The gags are repetitive and the plot dies a noisy death. The performances are dramatic. Only Riteish Deshmukh as Sanjay's buddy and Sanjana's lover tries to look at the situation with sensible eyes.
He's not really in-sync with the rowdy rhythms of this film, which makes you want to be neither man nor woman.
Bollywood.com Rating: 1