Release date: January 14, 2011
Director: Aman Mihani
Cast: Mohsin Akhtar, Muzzi, Shilpa Shukla, Luna Lahkar
It would be the easiest thing in the world to dismiss this film, tell you it’s not worth your time and wind up my review in a jiffy. After all it’s a deliciously wintry morning here in Delhi and happiness beckons elsewhere.
But I won’t do that. Because in spite of everything that’s wrong with Mumbai Mast Kallander, there’s something appealing about the young cast that makes me want to say a little something more.
Mumbai Mast Kallander is the story of brothers Ram and Shyam who come to Mumbai from Gorakhpur to make it big in the underworld. Their first assignment with a city goon is to mock-kidnap the wayward son of a local builder. Dad hopes the episode will get him the sympathy of his creditors plus reform the boy. Problem is that sonny boy too has notched up some debts with his gambling addiction and so plans his own kidnapping to wrest money from his tight-fisted father. The third angle in this kidnapping triangle are two hapless girls trying to save their beauty parlour from that same builder. How do they plan to pay the money they owe him? By kidnapping his son of course.
Plenty of potential for a goofball comedy, right? And it might have worked, considering the obvious earnestness of some of its young lead players. But for a film that is meant to be a comic thriller, the editing is shockingly slow-paced leaving it with low energy levels that no amount of youthful sincerity can rescue it from.
Ram is played by former Mr India Mohsin Akhtar who flashes his well-worked-out arms to good effect and looks like he may have shaped up better in the acting department, given a firmer hand on the director’s baton. Chak De villainess Shilpa Shukla does a decent job as the beauty parlour owner Rhea. And her partner-in-crime (pretty Luna Lahkar) is not bad either.
The film features a couple of genuinely funny situations but many more that could have been humorous if they’d been handled deftly. Like the Dussehra theme party where girls in corsets dance on stage to Thoda Ram naam bhaj le. The writing shows some promise. Sample this: When the kidnap victim takes an inordinately long time in the toilet, his rustic kidnapper says: “Arrey bhai, itni der mein to hum do baar khet ho aate.”
But that’s no compensation for the nauseatingly badly conceptualized, badly acted, badly directed, badly written sequence towards the end of the film featuring a killer who is an Amitabh Bachchan fan. Yikes!
Rating (out of five): *