Release date: February 18, 2011
Director: Vikram Pradhan
Cast: Rajpal Yadav, Divya Datta
An autorickshaw driver in Mumbai wants his son to study in an upmarket school. Not surprisingly, he’s snubbed by the institution’s snooty principal who can’t see beyond the Queen’s English.
Few people in the Hindi film industry are better suited to play that autowallah than Rajpal Yadav, a fine actor usually condemned to substituting histrionic skills with facial gymnastics in film after film. Yadav’s moving performance in Chandan Arora’s Main Meri Patni aur Woh underlined the tragedy of actors straitjacketed by a Bollywood that’s incapable of seeing beyond its own stereotype of what a star ought to look like. In Masti Express, he manages to bring a certain poignance to the scenes in which he’s working towards his dream for his son. But director Vikram Pradhan destroys his own film by killing that poignance each time with a burst of loud comedy.
That leaves us with nothing else to like in this film featuring an unbearably over-the-top Johnny Lever, an equally OTT colour palette, a lukewarm item number by Kashmira Shah so obviously styled on Bipasha Basu’s Bidi jalaile look that it’s pitiable, a little man with dancing breasts, in-your-face product placements (what was Ryan International group of schools thinking?!) and a bunch of kids who get pride of place in the credits but little to do. Even an appearance by singer Shankar Mahadevan does nothing for this disjointed film.
The sillyfest is typified by the following scene that takes place when the auto union leader played by Lever organises an autorickshaw marathon in Mumbai …
Aspiring contestant Bankim Chandra Thapa: Main khukhri aur rasogolla ka milap hoon.
Union leader: Ah, remix item.
Thapa: Main autorickshaw race karne mein bahadur hoon.
Union leader: Tum to waise bhi Bahadur ho.
I’d be dignifying that scene by even bothering to call it racist.
Rating (out of five): 1/2