For fox sake!
Film: Tees Maar Khan
Director: Farah Khan
Actors: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif
A celebrated heist king Tabrez Mirza Khan urf (alias) Tees Maar Khan (Akshay Kumar) poses as a Hollywood director to a leading Bollywood star (Akshay Khanna, hilarious). The star’s dying to grab an Oscar some day. The fraud director calls himself Manoj Day Ramalan, as opposed to Manoj Night Ramalan (for Shyamalan), his better-known brother, who got named ‘Night’, for that's when he was born, and therefore he turned out dark in complexion. ‘Day’ Ramalan on the other hand is fair skinned. Conjoined twins (Raghu, Rajiv) are his supposed producers.
Tees Maar Khan wants to fake making a film in a village, so he can loot a train full of antiques that will pass the sets. The villagers will help in the robbery, assuming the said heist to be a scene in the film they’re all extras in. How can you take this stuff seriously? Nobody intends to. But then, what do you do when, for most of the while, you aren’t laughing either? No idea.
For the movie’s idea of course, the makers here have gone After The Fox (Vittorio De Sica’s 1966 Peter Sellers starrer). This copying business is understandable, given these pleasant star hunters must have spent the rest of their waking hours media-hopping and money-talking, mainly around a corny song, Sheela Ki Jawani. The track remains their only saving grace. So you can imagine.
The script is still one that prolific Priyadarshan would have merrily plagiarised for Christmas -- among over two-dozen films he’s done in less than a decade. Akshay Kumar would’ve been the hero, as usual. The fuss wouldn’t have been the same. Because they wouldn’t have mastered the fart of making a three-hour long picture designed around cutting a minute-long promo. That’s enough to keep the excitement for the first weekend’s audience going. Who gives a rat’s bum for a film; it’s lazy old Bollywood after all.
Every scene is a loud announcement. Tees Maar Khan locks out a plane’s cockpit, loots a bank. tails headless ghost in the jungle…. At some moment, you just go, “Peace out, Khan!” Because most jokes fall flat. Except when directed at Bollywood itself. So here’s the first thing the furiously feted Farah of the fine Om Shanti Om fame has rewardingly brought to the fable: A bitchy kind of inane love for people who work in Mumbai movies, their friends or foes, hopefully in the theatre. Such surprise, no?
The movie star here missed out on Slumdog Millionaire (that would be Shah Rukh Khan), because his bumbling secretary Bunty Baweja mistook Danny Boyle for Danny Denzongpa and threw him out. The actor now expects an Academy award from a film within this film, being shot in a village, because that’s what fetches the Indian movie a shot at the Oscars (Mother India, Lagaan). The actor of the rural flick is finally caught taking a crap in the open (Aamir Khan’s Oscars entry Peepli Live). A critic praises the picture at its premiere, for its French sensibilities (or was it?). Tees Maar Khan himself dates a hammy Bollywood ‘item girl’ (Katrina Kaif), who, he says, Salman Khan might know as he seeks mannat (SRK’s bungalow) on Eid. Whatever. What. Ever.
You may still thank the gossip column and Koffee With Karan commentary, while you look out for the movie within this never-ending hit and mess. It’s one thing to repeatedly make ‘nudge nudge wink wink’ sort of ironic nod to films or ‘filmies’. It’s quite another to know nothing else.
A ride is what was promised. Whether you’re on a ride, or being taken for one, is the point. Not that anyone of us is anyway looking for a point.