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Review: Ta Ra Rum Pum

Saif Ali Khan is reliably likeable, displaying a new maturity in the heavy duty scenes, writes Khalid Mohamed.

movie reviews Updated: May 03, 2007 19:31 IST

Ta Ra Rum Pum

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukherji
Direction: Siddharth Anand
Rating: ***

Oh dear dear, there is this fear. The next time you’re in New York, it might seem as if you’re strolling down Nagar Chowk or Chandni Chowk. After all, whether it’s on television or the formula racing tracks, everyone’s speaking Hindi and supping on masala bhindi. Americans are conspicuous by their absence.

Produced by Factory No.1 aka Yashraj and directed by Siddharth Anand,

Ta Ra Rum Pum Pum
Pum
(sorry, don’t know when to stop)..
Pum..Pum..Pum
is like a fusion dim sum – it’s stuffed with fillings from
Cinderella Man
(a bar scene in which rich guys humiliate poor guy),
Life is
Beautiful
(kiddies, this is no terrible dump, it’s a reality TV show..huh?),
Days of Thunder
(those vroom..vroom tracks) and
In America
(penniless
parivar
residing in a chawl). Evidently, Copykar Anand only forgot to include
Ben-Hur
. No chariots here, only cars..horn OK please?

In fact, the screenplay is about as original as a Xerox machine..but that’s an antiquated grouse, isn’t it? Lift and let lift. If you slap yourself into submission, the result is not too bad, even engrossing and touching at points. Yup, you’re occasionally manipulated into empathising with a certain AV (Saif Ali Khan) and Female AV who have married after singing, dancing and arguing over a broken iPod..never mind if pods weren’t invented when the two were dating, mating..whatever..at least some eight years ago. Time pass anyone?

Anyway, the couple come up with two kids faster than cash from an ATM machine. And then sigh..your hero has a nasty accident on the tracks. Sniff. He hits skid row, is deserted by manager Jaaved Jaaferi (bad impersonation of a Gujarati bhai) and boss Bharat Dhabolkar (smoking a cigar as if it were a hookah). Moanwhile, angry pa-in-law Victor Bannerji travels around in a limousine that’s mercifully shorter than his speeches. "You study Elizabethan poetry," he tells his literature-enriched daughter, "and you want to marry a driver? Sorry, he’s not of your intellect."

That’s the first time the word ‘

intellect’
has been used in the Bombay movies. Bravo! Next: the impoverished AV must become A-1 on the tracks all over again. Pronto. Now, a half-witted gang unites
, a la Lagaan
, to beat the
goras
at their own game.Despite all this jiggery pokery, how come you’re disposed fairly favourably towards this
Bhaagti ka
Naam Gaadi
? It’s simply because there are some engaging moments like the couple’s domestic showdowns, the Disneyesque fantasy song with the kids and the irresistible rah-rah climax. At least four to five of the 16 reels are more than okay.

The direction style, especially in the use of

alaaps
, is often imitative of Karan Johar. Vishal-Shekhar’s music score is totally Yash-Adityaesque. Salim-Suleiman’s background music is hung up on
Eye of the Tiger
riffs..the sound design threatens to shatter your ear-drums. Binod Pradhan’s camera doesn’t aspire to anything above the ultra-glamorous. The editing lingers far too much over lachrymose star faces (till you can smell the glycerine)..but the action on wheels is well-shot and well-cut.

Of the cast, kiddoes Ali Haji and Angelina Idnani are endearing.Saif Ali Khan is reliably likeable, displaying a new maturity in the heavy duty scenes. Rani Mukherji is lovely and delivers a near flawless performance. Their costumes are a bit jarring though: Ms Mukherji’s micro-skirts are much too wannabe sexy..and Mr Khan’s use of checked shirts to suggest that he’s got no money is often chuckle-inducing. Please!

Bottom line: worth a summer holiday outing..just about..but that’s still saying a lot about the movies today at the plexes.