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Review: Bombay to Bangkok

Honestly, Nagesh Kukunoor’s Bombay to Bangkok, could be the normally excellent director’s claim to ill-fame. Khalid Mohamed tellsmore.

movie reviews Updated: Jan 23, 2008 18:56 IST
Khalid Mohamed

Bombay to Bangkok
Cast: Shreyas Talpade, Lina Christianson
Direction: Nagesh Kukunoor
Rating: **

Boil or bake, he takes the sponge cake. He’s a fake Munnabhai-type of doctor who could be pushed any moment into a Thai lake. How he makes you rattle and shake. Quake.

Honestly, Nagesh Kukunoor’s Bombay to Bangkok, could be the normally excellent director’s claim to ill-fame. Unless you count a garish oddity called, Bollywood Calling, this one has to be his worst effort yet. What was he thinking of? A funky food fiesta? You should see the close-ups of a wriggling silk worm salad. Enough to turn you veggie. Or at least, an eggie.

Or was it a massage parlour that Kukunoor craved to visit? Believe this, a glass cage dotted with plastic-eyed gals is straight out of Arjun Hingorani’s Kahani Kismat Ki. Or was it, well, what? Maybe Kool Kukunoor just wanted to make a lousy movie. He’s made too many nice ones: Dor left you crying for the right reasons. This makes you weep, too, but for the wrong reasons. Eeeps.

Main reason for Sobs: the plot. It has an igloo’s chance in hell to be believable. Canteen Cook Shreyas Talpade finds a pouch of dollars, tries to fly off to Dubai (never mind his dotty mum), ends up in Bangkok impersonating a doc,and falls in love with..well..a sex worker. After hemming-hawing, he kisses her as chastely as you would peck a Simi Garewal-like school teacher. Interval.

<b1>A rap singing goonda is hot on Talpade’s taal,, those dollars have vanished, his translator (well played by Manmeet Singh) is fed up, and almost every Thai wants free Viagras. By now your tears are flowing like the Niagara. Kukunoor, what’s WRONG with you?

Second reason for Tears: Visuals are so tacky that the supposedly scenic spots look like municipal chawls. The dialogue’s classic (someone even says, “If I’m a bidi, you’re a cigar, if I’m a kulfi, you’re a choc-o-bar.” )The music score yields this strange lyric,

“We are same-same, but different- different.” And you really howl when Canteen Cook keeps racing around bedrooms till you wish you’d stayed in your own. Kukunoor sir, why? Why?

Third reason for Hysterics: Shreyas Talpade can be such a fine actor. But here he’s mega- mediocre. He shows 32 teeth when he’s happy, flares his nostrils when he’s angry, and looks as puzzled as Jeetendra when he’s supposed to look puzzled which is very often. Miss Christansen, who could have easily conversed in English with Talpade and spared us the entire ordeal, is endurable. Jeneva Talwar as a wacko psychiatrist is hilarious. Naseeruddin Shah, as a don, should leave such tiny roles to Razaak Hingoo or Dinesh Khan.

This could have been a fun movie if it had strived for quality. No one did. So, do yourself a favour, fly over this Kukunoor’s nest. Or weep.