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Review: De Taali

Actors Riteish Deshmukh, Ayesha Takia, Aftab Shivdasani were able to whip up some funny moments in the film but the lengthy script played a spoilsport, avers Khalid Mohamed.

movie reviews Updated: Jun 21, 2008 11:56 IST
Khalid Mohamed

De Taali
Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Ayesha Takia, Aftab Shivdasani
Direction: Eshwar Niwas
Rating: ** 1/2

Dim some, lose some. Practically every man, woman and even a dear golden-fur dog here is brain-challenged. One guy breakdances on the Bangkok streets (no one stops to watch, he’s that bad), another quaffs single malts at 8 am (no one gives him soda). And a girl smiles so widely that she could eat a banana (or two) sideways. Really.

According to director Eshwar Niwas (formerly just E Niwas), his nutzoid three pack are worth a De Taali. Are they? Frankly, the three do whip up some funny moments. Occasionally, they are likeable but regress far too often into plain nonsense and fiddlesticks. Blame it bole to.. on the here-there-everywhere script (co-written by Abbas Tyrewalla) or on the excessive length. Yawn the yawn, the second-half drags till your grey hair turns snow white. Sad.

Eshwar’s rom-com – which filches elements of the teen TV series Dawson’s Creek and My Best Friend’s Wedding – is hmmm..endurable. Actually you could do much worse, like seeing Niwas’ earlier efforts like Dum or Love ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega? Or was it Marega?

Anyway, let’s be a bit positive, no? There’s a peppy appeal about Riteish Deshmukh who, knowingly or unknowingly (more likely the latter), follows the deadpan Buster Keaton-style of comedy. His reaction shots to chaos around him are as funny as a drunken sparrow. In the more dramatic sections though, he looks as if he wants to run away to the Himalayas. Oh well.

And when Ayesha Takia mimics Mr Deshmukh, she’s a delight; her laughter and smile are infectious. Wonderfully, she can also carry off the heavy-duty scenes too (take the one in which she talks of heartbreak). She’s an under-utilised actress for sure but could do by cutting down on potatoes and cream. Kilos hatao, please.

Aftab Shivdasani, well, um, okay, is not in the danger of getting the Lifetime Achievement Award two or three decades later. Rimi Sen, in a vamp-till-she-gets-cramps act, is quite cool for once. Miracle!

Now if you want to know what these actors are asked to do by the screenplay, don’t. Because a sane plotline is not on the agenda. It has something to do with falling in and out of love, friendship and Alcoholics Anonymous (represented by one bhoola bisra Mukul Dev). As for the finale, it’s set around a wedding pandal that should raise the ire of pundit mandals. Oh yes, there’s that golden dog, too, who refuses to carry out Anupam Kher’s instructions. Understandable.

The upbeat aspects involve a jibe at the permanently-lampoon-worthy Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag, the repartee between the three friends, fluid cinematography and the bright Bangkok locations.

So what’s the overall picture like? Okayish but so infuriatingly slow and tacky that it’s not likely to be remembered by anyone but poster-and-oddity collectors such as De Tulli.