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Review: Singh is Kinng

india Updated: Aug 11, 2008 11:59 IST
Khalid Mohamed
Khalid Mohamed
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Om Puri
Rating : **
Direction : Anees Bazmee

Cluck cluck. He has this yen for a hen. And so for an entire reel, Happy Singh chases a murghi around those Punjab mustard fields. Hen flies, someone mentions butter chicken, Happy runs after hen again, breaks a TV set and demolishes everything in sight, particularly your patience. Surely, it has to improve after this.

It doesn’t. Because director Anees Bazmee’s butter chicken gives those mustard field people badhazmee. Anon, they’re all making faces at Singh is Kinng, banishing Happy to Australia or wherever they’re offering air discounts now-a-daze. In the company of Om Puri (surely the thespian’s most challenging role yet), Happy lands up in Egypt — don’t even ask how — to make the locals unhappy.

Frankly, you’re not even looking for logic-‘n’-sense because for such good old virtues of entertainment are equated with ‘intellectualism’(will some nerd even explain what it means?). Sigh, you’re just looking for ‘time-pass’ but this isn’t worth your car fuel or cola-corn double whammy. It’s just bilge.

Contemptuous of audience taste, the screenplay is heavily cadged from Frank Capra’s Pocketful of Miracles (already done by Raj Khosla as Teri Maang Sitaron Se Bhar Doon and to a degree, sampled in Lage Raho Munnabhai). There’s also quite a lot of Jackie Chan’s Mr Canton and Lady Rose here. Viva DVD guys.

Now shhhh, you’re not supposed to bring up such piffling matters. Cinema’s all about making BIG bucks. Just get a star worth mega-crores, a director who’s scored a recent boundary or two, location shoot in the Gold Coast for cool subsidies, go far out with the publicity. And what do you know? You’ve got an initial audience. Unless your luck is really as bad as Tashan, it’s a win-win situation. Say cheese.

Hmm, never mind. Let’s get back to Yappy Happy (Akshay Kumar). Okay, so he’s on the coast, hungry for a toast, which is given to him by an NRI-kind of Tarla Dalal (Kirron Kher). Grateful for the rest of his life, Happy tells a gang of crooks to behave like boy scouts and help her in a pinch. Flinch. Arrives Toast Mommy’s daughter (Katrina Kaif) and her filthy rich fiancé (Ranvir Shorey looking anything but). Quite dottily, Mommy must be made out to be super-rich, too. And so the goons gurgle like babies.

If this mess wasn’t enough, there’s more. Happy’s brother or cousin or both (Sonu Sood, wasted) is a dreadful don who is paralysed. His fingers move all over the place though like bhindis. He’s a vegetable on a wheelchair. Despair. The second-half is especially bewildering. It has at least two more movies going on, one about a goon who discovers that he has a daughter (so?). And another about Javed Jaffery who breaks into dance as if he were the son of Basanti from Sholay. JJ also has a duplicate with silver hair, perhaps to save on the expenses of hiring another actor. Really now.

If there’s a storyline here, it’s kept an international secret. Technically, the result could belong to the days of Jeetendra in the 1970s, what with the editing wipes and the harshly lit photography. Oddly, Pritam’s music sounds better in the promos. And the dialogue is of the ‘Kaan kholke sun lo’ type (is there any other way actually?).

Of the cast, Neha Dhupia keeps grinning (even in the sad scenes) while performing one of those gangster moll acts. Akshay Kumar does his regular mechanical number — stunts, comedy, repressed romance — with no surprises. Katrina Kaif, as a classic bimbette, doesn’t even have to speak too much Hindi. Mercifully.

All seen and survived, beneath the hype there's an empty heart here.