Friday, December 24, 2010

Tees Maar Khan

Director: Farah Khan
Stars: Akshay Kumar, Akshaye Khanna, Katrina Kaif, Apara Mehta, Sachin Khedekar
Rating: **1/2



Farah Khan's much-hyped Tees Maar Khan is sporadically a very funny film, but as a whole never really comes together. Akshay Kumar aka Tees Maar Khan is a self-proclaimed con artiste who when arrested and flown down by two CBI officers, locks up all the four pilots(!) while he uses the loo and then turns savior for everyone as he uses his special skills. How he actually achieves this con is glossed over and there's only a stylistic representation. So you never get into the head of this character or know why he's so clever. Once home, he lands up on the sets of a sleazy B grade film, where his girlfriend, Anya (Katrina Kaif) is a starlet. And this is the situation for Farah's all-eggs-in-one-basket song, Sheila Ki Jawani that never really rises beyond being a manufactured hit. Katrina tries too hard to be sexy and many of the body movements including one where she's heaving heavily behind white sheets are downright tasteless.

For one of his biggest con jobs, which involves a train robbery, Khan realises he can't do it without some serious man power and security. Hence he comes up with the idea of shooting a film on the location that would enable him to get to the loot. He approaches superstar Aatish Kapoor (Akshaye Khanna), who spends his time ruing how he missed Danny Boyle's call and thereby losing out on the Oscar moment. (One would know Farah's best friend turned foe Shah Rukh Khan had been offered Slumdog Millionaire. Later there's also a reference to SRK's 'back problem'). Once Kapoor agrees, what follows is a farce that quickly degenerates into the realm of the ludicrous and juvenile.

The central plot - copied entirely from the 1966s Hollywood film, After The Fox - sounds great on paper, but it's not the most easy idea to pull off. This needed a masterful screenplay and more than just a serviceable director with a bent for irreverent humour.
The story has ambition, but lacks in execution. In that sense, the film is about cleverness and ingenuity, but it been treated in a brain-dead, over-the-top and completely unrealistic way, which makes it fall flat.
On the plus side, there are more than a couple of sequences which are genuinely hilarious. In fact, some scenes including the 'Master India' - Mr India's son gone wrong, and the Manoj 'Day' Shyamalan sequences sparkle with imagination. The whole of the first half - in spite of its premise and characters being superficial - is still fairly entertaining.

But once the film-within-the-film part arrives, Tees Maar Khan loses steam. This is primarily because you don't for a second believe the characters or their situations. It becomes a spoof within a spoof, so you are never ever invested in the plot.
The songs are a sad let down. Farah's earlier, Om Shanti Om and Main Hoon Naa were never anything more than strictly time-pass fares, but they rode on the back of a peppy soundtrack and other effervescent highlights. The Sheila Ki Jawani number, the Salman item song ...all seem very forced this time. And the other numbers are not even worth a mention.
On the performance front, Akshay Kumar is earnest and does his job well. Katrina however gets the worst role of her career as the dumb, wannabe starlet and does a miserable job of it. Akshaye Khanna is funny in a role that requires him to go completely over-the-top.

The majority of the contribution for the film has come from Farah's husband, Shirish Kunder (script, screenplay, background, dialogues) as the end credits show - an Oscar ceremony where the entire team ends up winning. In the film, this team unintentionally end up making a classic. This is only asserted and not once do you sense this, which is why the film ends up being so lame.

There was perhaps a very good movie in Tees Maar Khan, but it's so absorbed in its flippant humour and spoofs, and so smart for its own good, that it ceases to be a life and blood film. For most part, it ends up being an unimpressive caricature of itself, though some of its humourous sequences are among the best of the year.

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