HOOK, LINE AND STINKER
Donât be fooled by the cast â this relationship drama (or is it relationship comedy?) is as bad as it gets.
APR 1, 2007 – THEREâS only one person you can turn to after experiencing something like Delhii Heights, and thatâs Annie Lennox. The futility of it all is enough to make you want to channel not just her song Why, but the howl that she puts into the singing as she makes this one word stretch across seventeen syllables. Wh-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa-yyy? The Pet Shop Boys perhaps offer a close-enough substitute, with What have I done to deserve this? Or if desi music is your thing, Anand Bakshi could be the one, having already articulated your thoughts as you leave the theatre: Yeh kya hua, kaise hua… kyon hua? At some point, I know Iâve got to stop diddling around and get down to writing an actual review, but let me have some fun first, please? Iâve had none in the past two-odd hours Iâve spent staring at Jimmy Shergillâs hair, its styling clearly inspired by a Lhasa apso after it wandered in the vicinity of an industrial blower. (First Sanjaya Malakar and the ponyhawk. Now this. Come on, pop culture â give us a break!) Shergill plays an advertising man, married to advertising woman Neha Dhupia. (If Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt made a sitcom about this couple, would it be called Ad About You?) She marches ahead while he sulks, whiskey in hand â and the ego problems begin before you can say Abhimaan.
Or maybe you should say Adamâs Rib, where Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn were both lawyers, on opposite sides of the same case. (Here, Shergill and Dhupia battle over the same celebrity spokesperson, played by Surprise Guest Star with the kind of faint-rotten-smell expression we often have when our parents bully us into attending weddings we donât want to. Clearly, the producers asked him, and he couldnât say no.) Or maybe you should say Swarg Narak, where one couple had a perfectly decent marriage and ruined it with negativity, while the other couple â the wimpy wife and the womanising husband â saved their on-their-rocks union with a positive attitude. (This other couple is played by Rohit Roy and Simone Singh.) Or maybe you should say Jerry Maguire, where the hero came to his senses and proclaimed his love to the heroine in front of a group of irrelevant lookers-on. Or maybe you should say Silsila, where a man and a woman worked up a flirtatious storm during a Holi song sequence as their respective spouses watched on in embarrassment. Or maybe you should say Parineeta, which opened with such an evocative summary of the ethos of Kolkata, you found yourself salivating even if you couldnât tell a puchka from a potato. (Delhii Heights attempts a similar paean to the glories of saddi Dilli, but Iâm not sure âyahan Shanghai se bhi zyada chow mein banti haiâ? counts as a compliment.)
The director Anand Kumar has the oddest instincts. He sets up a big mushy speech, then ruins it with corporate-ese. And if you thought nothing kills romance more than references to âprofessionâ? and âdeadlines,â? you havenât seen (music director) Rabbi Shergill pop up beside our hero in his car to voice the latterâs thoughts. Nothing kills romance more than an out-of-nowhere Sardarji dressed in white, strumming a Spanish guitar as his lyrics appear as sub-titles. Shergillâs (Rabbi, not Jimmy) numbers are quite pleasant, but theyâre wasted â one of them on a bunch of boys who are written into the film simply because they live in the same apartment complex as our leads. (But this tendency to focus on neighbours does result in the welcome inclusion of Om Puri, who plays a clichÃ© â a Sardarji whose speech patterns reduce naaraaz and zaroor to nâraaz and zâroor â with endearing amounts of hamminess.) The director apparently thought he was simulating reality, for in a conversation that these boys have, a handheld camera starts to alternately pull away and poke into their faces. It isnât enough that we get a general sense of the badness of their performances; we need to confirm it with tight close-ups. And along with the bad reaction shots and the bad staging, we suffer through bad symbolism too â when Shergill (Jimmy, not Rabbi) is on the road, and his decision to return to his wife is prompted by a traffic sign that says âNo U-turnâ?. And I thought: shouldnât it actually say âU-turnâ?, because âNo U-turnâ? means that he wonât turn back whereas what he executes after seeing the sign is… uh, a U-turn. I should have followed his example and done the same at the ticket counter.
Copyright Â©2007 The New Sunday Express