Jhootha Hi Sahi
Director: Abbas Tyrewala
Actors: John Abraham, Pakhi
There are so many desis on the screen, with such fine command over Hindi, you know you’re in London, the uniquely Indian neighbourhood that belongs to Bollywood alone. A guided tour, sponsored by the tourism authority, is unnecessary.
Three jobless yuppies own Kaagaz Ke Phool, a store that sells Indian books but doesn't "do Deepak Chopra". They and their friends also live in swanky apartments with wide, open kitchens, couches you can slouch deep into. Main doors faces the friendly neighbour's. The tone's truly American sit-com, as in say Seinfeld. Friends here though merely share wine, throw blank glances at each other, make even more banal conversations.
Fakeness is complete. Nothing can salvage or punctuate the emptiness within. One dude perennially proposes to his pregnant girlfriend, the other girl always throws relationship tantrums. Amar Mohile's opening riff from the brilliant track 'Naach le’(Naach) recurs for a background tune. It’s all unrelentingly unfunny and uncontained; completely "ajeebs," to borrow a refrain from the film.
The hero is an under-confident, geeky, bespectacled bloke who stammers before beautiful girls. That’s supposed to be the pretty hunk John. The heroine is suicidal, but an object of instant male desires. That cutesy, Goldie Hawn role is played by the debutant Pakhi. Not sure what puzzles you more: the film, or its inspired casting.
The leading couple meets over the phone, because his number gets mistakenly printed in an ad for a serious relationship counsel helpline specifically for desis at night. They hit it off online. They also get close offline: become friends, and then potential lovers. She doesn’t know the confident expert on the phone she calls Fidato, and the floppy fellow Sid she meets at the coffeeshop is the same person. She likes both. He knows. He can tell her the truth. She can hear it. We can move on. They aren’t quite Sleepless in Seattle.
This is what they call the Idiot Plot, one that entirely rests on a minor miscommunication or misunderstanding to stretch a silly premise forever: another random character, more sub-plots, another dance, more songs, another guided tour to London, more twists.
"Fidato," the heroine says, “It means someone you trust.” Finito. It means finished. Wish this film could figure when to.