Review: Heyy Babyy

Posted on August 25, 2007


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A baby ends up with three sad excuses for men, while we end up with a sad excuse for a comedy.

AUG 26, 2007 – A GREAT NUMBER OF EYES were rolled when Sajid Khan denied that Heyy Babyy, his first full-fledged outing as director, was a remake of Three Men and a Baby. After all, we pointed out and sniggered, he did rope in Akshay Kumar, Fardeen Khan and Ritesh Deshmukh (namely, three men), and a baby. Besides, the story was similar too, with said three men discovering said baby abandoned at their doorstep and finding themselves having to care for her. But after seeing the film, I’m happy to report that Sajid Khan was (mostly) right. Heyy Babyy isn’t Three Men and a Baby so much as One Man and One Woman, Supported by Two Other Men and a Baby.

Despite an ill-advised heroin-dealers subplot, the Hollywood movie was mainly about the men, about their hilarious attempts at engaging with, among other things, the contents of a fully-loaded diaper. But poo-poo jokes can only travel so far in Bollywood, about a couple of reels into the first half. After those initial bursts of laughter, you need tears. You need melodrama in the form of betrayals, recriminations, repentance, sacrifice – and it’s thus not very surprising when the womanising Akshay-Fardeen-Ritesh trio splits up to make way for Akshay’s sob-soaked romantic angle with Vidya Balan (who should either fire her stylist or stop wearing western clothes, perhaps both).

At least romantic melodrama we’re used to. But what to make of the melodramatic contrivance that has the three men, in an attempt to get rid of the baby, abandon it in front of a church – and in the open? They couldn’t just sneak up to the altar, dump the baby there and then take off? But then, had they displayed that teeniest amount of common sense, we wouldn’t have the baby exposed to a downpour and ending up hospitalised. We wouldn’t have the following minutes of tension – such tension that lapsed-Muslim Fardeen actually performs a namaaz in a corner of the facility. And we wouldn’t have the final act of penance, where the baby survives – a miracle, the doctor claims, and on Christmas day yet! – and the three heroes clutch the little one’s feet and drop to their knees, blubbering.

And we needed Sajid Khan – him of the anarchic TV-comedy shows, with the ever-willingness to gamely stoop to levels of humour no man has stooped to before – for this? Heck, the Darshan siblings – Sunil and Dharmesh – would have sufficed. I thought I saw a glimpse of Sajid in an early bit where Akshay Kumar, after a roommate drives away the woman he’s spent the night with, moans, “Who’s going to wash my underwear now?â€? This isn’t in good taste – frankly, it isn’t even good humour – but there’s a sense of loopy free-association that you hope will result in bigger and better laughs. Sadly, the laughs just get smaller and worse.

Boman Irani has a few nice moments as Vidya’s father, and there’s a nutty montage of Akshay, Fardeen and Ritesh getting slapped by the women they’ve wronged. (What’s nuttier is that this sequence is set to Rossini’s William Tell Overture, though the gold medal for bizarre placement of classical music would hands-down go to the scene with Akshay dozing off at the urinal, which – if I’m remembering this right – is scored to a stretch from The Nutcracker.) Mostly, though, we’re stuck with lame gags such as the one where Akshay boasts about his baby-handling capabilities and instantly gets urinated on (talk about a whiz kid!), or the one where Fardeen attempts to channel Amitabh Bachchan from Chupke Chupke. (In other words, it’s Fardeen Khan pretending to be Amitabh Bachchan pretending to be Dharmendra.) The least they can do is show us the courtesy of not reminding us of the kind of comedy we don’t get anymore.

Copyright ©2007 The New Sunday Express

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi