Three husbands find their lives – and their wives – spinning out of control in an entertaining comedy about adultery.
AUG 28, 2005 – IN THIS DAY AND AGE of hankering after international audiences, international recognition, Bollywood seems to be doing all it can to distance itself from the glitter-kitsch aesthetic that once defined it. (And I mean this in the most non-judgmental way; kitsch may not be for everyone, but it’s still an aesthetic, a valid filmmaking choice, and several older films – say, the entire Shammi Kapoor catalogue, and never mind the Good Taste Police – are still fun exactly because they, intentionally or not, stick to this vision. After all, trashy entertainment is still entertainment.) Today, our movies look fabulous, the locations look fabulous, the stars look fabulous, their abs and arms and busts and butts look fabulous, their clothes look fabulous, even the backup dancers look fabulous – at least looks-wise, it’s as far-removed from kitsch as you can get.
And yet, the spirit of Manmohan Desai – that king of kitsch – seems to be hovering over our cinema more than ever before, especially in the lighter fare. Logic-be-damned masala has become mod again – mod enough to lure even the multiplex multitudes. (Would those be the multi-dudes?) Farah Khan cashed in on this with Main Hoon Na, David Dhawan limped back to form with Mujhse Shaadi Karogi and Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya, and now Anees Bazmee – who earlier made the dopey romance, Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha – adds modern trappings to Desai’s ancient, anything-goes formula and comes up with No Entry, a rib-tickler that even has the kind of sprawling star cast Desai was so fond of.
No Entry is about the mess that ensues when Prem (Salman Khan) encourages Kishan (Anil Kapoor) to hit on the gorgeous dancer Bobby (Bipasha Basu) – and doing their best to add to the confusion are Kajal (Lara Dutta, as Kishan’s suspicious wife), Pooja (Esha Deol, as Prem’s trusting spouse), Sunny (Fardeen Khan, as a clueless photographer) and Sanjana (Celina Jaitley, as Sunny’s girl).
It’s a bit like Masti, that other comedy involving a trio of married men – but without the weepy songs, without the family-value sermons. Anu Malik’s music may be merely passable, but the songs are staged like extended comedy sequences, so they zip by, barely becoming the speed-breakers they’d have been otherwise. The other surprise about No Entry is that it’s so clean – despite ample opportunities for non-veg detours, as in the sequence where Sunny falls off a hill, and Sanjana and her girlfriends strip off their skirts and pants in order to make something of a rope to haul him up. In an early David Dhawan movie, such a scene would have played out thus: Sunny looks up as he nears the top, notices the bare legs, grins lewdly as he looks up even further, and falls again, in order to enjoy the action replays. Bazmee isn’t interested in any of that.
In fact, No Entry could well be the first family-friendly comedy about adultery. It flows easily – it’s mild at first, but gets into full gear with an uproarious wedding sequence – and the dialogues are effortlessly amusing. (Doctor reassuring a worried patient: “Aapka sugar, namak, mirchi, sab kuchh theek hai.) At close to three hours, the movie does ramble a bit, but at least there’s no sentimental slop. (There’s very little sob-stuff, and even the little there is – like Bobby’s justification for her profession – is so stupid, it qualifies as inadvertently hilarious.) The cast mugs spiritedly – though I wish Boman Irani (as a slimy politician) had been used better – and Bazmee throws in everything but the kitchen sink to give us a high old time. Somewhere up there, Manmohan Desai is smiling.
Copyright ©2005 The New Sunday Express