Mumbai, 19 Jul 2019 9:00 IST
This crass, amateurish production, helmed by Smeep Kang, aims to be funny but raises few laughs.
The late great American film critic Roger Ebert once wrote a glossary of terms about the cinema of the 1980s. One of those terms was what he called the 'idiot plot'. It meant "any plot containing problems that would be solved instantly if all of the characters were not idiots". The comedy Jhootha Kahin Ka (2019), directed by Smeep Kang, contains an 'idiot plot'.
Varun (Omkar Kapoor) and Karan (Sunny Singh Nijjar) are good-for-nothing friends living in Mauritius. They are unemployed and have no prospects, but they still manage to find two women who want to marry them. While Karan is hoping to marry Sonam (Rucha Vaidya) after the blessings of his criminal brother Tommy (Jimmy Sheirgill), Varun manages to convince Riya (Nimisha Mehta) to marry him by becoming a ghar jamai.
How do they manage to pull it off? By lying through their teeth.
Varun tells Riya and her family that he has no family and has to create a web of lies when his father, uncle and aunt move in next door to his in-laws. Karan, being the helpful friend, bolsters his friend's lie and makes Varun's father Yogiraj (Rishi Kapoor) believe he is married to Riya. Both friends have to navigate their daily lives and find jobs while handling their demanding family members.
If that sounds complicated, it is. All the characters needed was to have a simple conversation, but remember, they are idiots, so they continue to build their house of cards. The comedic gags in the film are right out of the 1990s and one joke is repeated not once, not twice, but three times to no laughs.
The characters bicker and belittle one another constantly and treat Mauritius like it is another India. Most of the dialogues, writen by Vaibhav Suman and Shreya Shrivastava, are regressive and misogynistic. The female characters, especially the talented Lilette Dubey as Riya's mother Ruchi, have little to do in the film.
Rishi Kapoor, long absent from the big screen due to his cancer treatment, does his best with a stereotypical Punjabi father, but even he can't save the film. He and Rajesh Sharma's scenes are loud and over the top. Sheirgill is slotted as the angry gangster who gets so confounded by the cast of characters around him that he seeks to go back to jail.
The film's two heroes, Omkar and Sunny, have a good bromance on screen, but that's about it. Sunny Singh seems to be playing another version of his character from Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (2018).
The songs composed by a motley crew of music composers fail to connect. Kang, who has a number of Punjabi hit films like Carry On Jatta (2012) and Lucky Di Unlucky Story (2013) under his belt, hasn't updated his film for today's audiences. The production comes across as crass and amateurish and elicits few laughs.
Twice during the film, Dubey's character Ruchi exclaims, "I'm so confused!" That brought out the only genuine laughs for me in the film. Rishi Kapoor has an older film with the same title, Jhootha Kahin Ka (1979), co-starring his wife Neetu. That film seems to be a better recommendation than this jumbled comedy.
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