Cast: Sharman Joshi, Sohail Khan, Gul Panag, Leopard Stockings, Salman Khan with and without shirt, Smiling Kaif
Director: Atul Agnihotri
Here’s glower power. A Boston babe huffs over the phone, “Hiiiii, what do I do dah with theez vacuum cleanerrrrr?” And two old men in a jet plane, guzzle cheap beer and jeer, “You call center fellers… Indians hey yaah Indians!” And then break into a fit of school girlish giggles. Ha ha?
No just sob. Atul Agnihotri’s Hello should have been titled Goodby, Ta Ta, Phut, Alvida or just Hello without the o. It joins the ranks of the worst movies in recent memory. In fact, if its serious competitor Drona had just one person portraying a statue, this one has as many as six statues. One of them, Ishaa Koppikar, even wears leopard skin stockings. And it’s raining so much that you wish you’d carried an umbrella. Or at least gum boots. Toots. <b1>
If you were away in the Himalayas, do be informed that Agnihotri and best selling novelist Chetan Bhagat have collaborated on the screenplay adapted from One Night @ the Call Center. Bhagat’s book is a work of gulp fiction, not the sort that would make it to the Booker, but did sell big time. Just like Anurag Mathur’s Inscrutable Americans. Shudder.
Now reels and reels are gobbled up to introduce six call center employees. And their boss who yodels, “Nooh Yooork, Nooh Yoooork” in a scary impersonation of Frank Sinatra. That’s Dalip Tahil, so irritating that you want to get rid of him with a mosquito coil. So much toil and trouble.
Want to know more? Well, Leopard Koppikar wants to be a supermodel but hasn’t been given a break either by L’Oreal or Lakme Bhandarkar. Her admirer, Sohail Khan, is called Vrooom, which is perhaps why she can’t stand him. Or could it be because of his red vest and pumpkin-sized gym muscles? Vrooom Broom even makes a nasty crack at the fingers of Hrithik Roshan. That’s in awfully poor taste. Did Bhagat go with this?
More: Sharman Joshi loves Gul Panag whose mum (Fat Lady) wants her to marry an NRI. Yawn. Amrita Arora’s popping pills because of Ekta Kapoor-like saas dilemmas. Worse, her husband is cheating on her (Arbaaz Khan who looks as if he can’t cheat at a school exam). Oh dear.
And there’s superstar Sharat Saxena who emails photos of apes, chimps and gorillas to his grandson. Naturally, the boy’s parents object to this strange animal education. Pehle ape? And oh yeah, Salman Khan shows up to throw off his shirt which has been running for more weeks than DDLJ (in Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir, that is). Katrina Kaif smiles at him like Moony Lisa.
And although the movie’s biological clock is ticking away, there’s just no tempo or rhythm. You’re not only bored but your eyes go cross-eyed. Who on earth were those blonde ballerinas flying in studio clouds? Why did GOD (the mobile phone screen says so) make a phone call to the six fruit and nuts when they were stuck in a car in an Italian Job-like precipice? Why didn’t they get advice from Indra Kumar (Ishq) or Abbas Mustan (Tarzan the Wonder Car) who have a thing about dangling cars. Beep beep.
Sanjay F Gupta’s cinematography is all lit up like a wedding pandal. Sajid-Wajid’s music score won’t have you dancing. And for the Kinky Moment No. 1, cut to Sharman-Gul making love in a car, with their clothes on. Mercifully.
Of the cast, only Sharman Joshi is likeable, especially when he plays a Tom Thumb-sized devil. And the Agnihtori-Bhagat combo? What can you say about Bollywood meets Bestseller? Absolutely nothing, except that both of them obviously dialled the wrong number. Hello, hello, hello, hellooooo, GOD where are you?