Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: Dharam Sankat Mein

Brilliantly Written, Slips In Execution

2 stars

Mini Review:

There are two stars in this movie: Paresh Rawal and Annu Kapoor. Their interaction is brilliant. Everything else needs a God to save it.

Main Review:

An official adaptation of the British comedy 'The Infidel' Dharam Sankat Mein fails to make a strong argument against the religious rituals and practices as OMG did. Neither does it make you cringe (I did) or squeal with delight (other people) as PK did. It falls through the cracks in execution. 

The saving grace? Paresh Rawal and Annu Kapoor.

The two are neighbors, a little bit like Grumpy Old Men are thrown together because one needs the help of the other. It's a tough thing to swallow that all of a sudden Paresh Rawal actually asks Annu Kapoor for help and how quickly that help is given, but you are glad when you watch the whole segment unfold in front of you. Their friendship is so wonderfully shown, you are willing to forgive Annu Kapoor his role in Shaukeens. You are ready to forgive Paresh Rawal's lame caricature of a family and a role similar to his OMG avatar.

What you will not get over is Naseeruddin Shah hamming. Again. But as someone sitting next to me said, his last good role was the dead dad in Jaane Tu. He gets worse than his Sona Spa cameo here. Even in his supposed best Jaane Bhi Do Yaron, he was upped by Ravi Baswani and Satish Shah. He's awful as Neelanand Baba and chews up footage rapidly. The character is meant to be OTT, but hey, Mithun Chakraborty did a better job in OMG. 

So let's get back to the best part of the movie. The writing. You know you'd like to read the script because Paresh Rawal has brilliant asides so casually thrown in, you miss it because you were paying attention to the Pulp Fiction cushion in the room (how did that get in there?) 

You also love how Annu Kapoor delivers his Urdu zingers. In your head you practice saying,' Joseph aur unki jauza mohtarim jab jahaaz se jazeere par utare toh zalim jalaal apni zaleel soorat liye zanjeeron mein jakda khada tha!

I could go on, but the movie descends into a familiar mess of religious wrongs which are more platitudes than anything else. A desperate need to pacify rather than take head on issues that are promised when a Hindu man discovers that he is born of a Muslim mother. The conflict could have been greater than just a conversion ploy. The story demanded that the audience know Paresh Rawal's yearning to know his father who is still alive. The need seems so forced, you want to be like the wife and go away to her brother's house (go home and watch OMG on dvd). 

Murali Sharma as the mean maulvi does a great job. But his stammering end is not convincing enough. Paresh Rawal's lovelorn son is funny at first, but you pray Neelanand baba's larger than life cutout falls on his head. The others are simply predictable. And that's a terrible thing to do to your audience. I wish they had spent more time in 'getting to know weird and wonderful rituals of the other religions'... Maybe the time is still for the dull 'watan parasti'. 

The part time atheist in me loved Paresh Rawal's dialog,'Dharm chaahe jo bhi ho, topi zaroor pehnata hai!' That's brilliant, simply brilliant.

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