Mayank Shekhar's review: Thank You

By Hindustan Times

Director: Anees Bazmee
Actors: Akshay Kumar, Irrfan Khan
Rating: *1/2

“Mard kutte hote hain.” The film repeats this line every now and then. So we must. Men are dogs. Dogs. Born to stray. Hoof. Hoof. They love only two things: their own kids, and other people’s wives – I guess, we get the point. A certain amount of male bashing may be essential to pass along the kind of grotesque male chauvinism that marks all sex comedies.

This one takes things a notch further, spending a good few minutes explaining to us how lusty men -- all men being “tharki” for the ladki (horny over girls) by birth -- cause such heartburn to their innocent wives, just for their “choti si aadat” (minor habit): “Mard bahar aiyashi kar raha hai. Aurat ghar pe tadap rahi hai (Men are playing the field. Women are convulsing at home)” Not fair! Every day the man looks for a new love. The woman sacrifices her whole life in support of her only love. You’d imagine that men are actually making love to other men, while the Bhartiya nari (the Indian woman) is subjected to witness this mad orgy. Thank you for not choking!

This picture stars Akshay Kumar. In the recent past, the actor has constructed a certain gold standard of uniquely lousy films (Kambakht Ishq, Tees Maar Khan…) of his own. Given the star on board, you know a few things that will happen in the flick even before you’ve entered the theatre. For one, he’ll make a dramatic entry, showing off some serious stunts (here, he dives in naked, with a satin sheet wrapped around him. Priceless). The picture then will oscillate between humour that’s worryingly insane, or mildly inane. A bunch of songs starring countless white girls in bikinis on beaches will hold rest of the stuff together.

The shindig will be set in a foreign location, since Akki Kumar movies can still afford to be filmed abroad. In several parts though, this one seems shot against a poorly lit screen that passes off for ‘Kanayda’. Audiences get to jerk off to escapist fantasies of what the life of the rich, with grand mansions, could possibly be: bedding series of mistresses at five star hotels between swinging a golf club or spinning around in a fancy car or yacht in the ocean. I like!

The story of course is immaterial. It’s been played out before. A self-righteous guru (Sanjay Dutt in David Dhawan’s Shaadi No 1; a bit of Govinda in Rumi Jaffery’s Life Partner; Akshay here) sets out to straighten up three skirt-chasing husbands (Irrfan Khan, Suniel Shetty, Bobby Deol). He lays out the traps. The wives (Rimi Sen, Celina Jaitley, Sonam Kapoor) supposedly thank him in return. The philandering behaviour is somewhat blamed on the summer. It's the season when men get to see more skin -- it leads to several break-ups. Hmmm. I live and learn!

And there, in the middle, is Irrfan, still the best thing about this flick, and arguably India’s finest acting export. By this time next year, I suppose, his credits would include a film with Ang Lee, and a part in Hollywood’s Spiderman franchise. Watch him in a ‘Bollywood’ movie (Knock Out, Krazzy 4, Sunday…), you know he’ll be publicly buggered. They show him as an oldish, matured man next to the ‘young’ playboy Bobby. He’s a psychonaut husband who treats his wife like an African slave, orders her around through the day (and midnight). Yet the wife sticks with him, dutifully obeys her master’s voice. Women, you see, have to: they’re pretty but helpless otherwise.

Surely someone sees humour in this. At this film’s premiere, the front rows were occupied by the average-Joe janta. I could hear laughs on several occassions. Which is good to know. The public better like this flick. After all, crores get spent on such trash.

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