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REVIEW: Hattrick

An omnibus movie like Hattrick– with cricket as the running thread – just doesn’t click, writes Khalid Mohamed.
None | By Khalid Mohamed, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 17, 2007 01:05 PM IST

Cast: Nana Patekar, Kunal Kapoor, Paresh Rawal
Direction: Milan Luthria
Rating: **

Weird beard man does a strip tease at a “hen party.” Actually the poor undernourished fellow looks so ill that you want to send him a lifetime’s supply of vitamin pills.

Not surprisingly, the girls aren’t impressed. Neither are you with Milan Luthria’s Hattrick which narrates three different stories about cricket but actually is more about how NOT to strip. Keep all your clothes, pads, helmets and caps on is the message of this googly that might even make you think of jumping into the deepest end of the Hooghly. More relaxing.

To put it straight, the first storylet is about that Nanga Panga (Kunal Kapoor) who is so crazy about cricket that his pancaked wife (Rimi, Reemi, Romi, something Sen) feels she’s been bowled out for a zook. Thank the Lord’s then for a very wise friend (Serious Kumari) who advises Pancake to get turned on by the very mention of the name of Mahendra Dhoni.

Nanga is outraged and howzzat..she goes ice cold with him in the bubble bath. After eating some nutritious parathas, Nanga returns to his senses – meaning food is the best cure for marital indigestion.

The second story’s about a doctor (Nana Patekar) who looks as expressionless as Jeetendra. And Doc Nana’s so solemn that you want to tickle his tummy. No yummy. Because he gets this very Iqbalish patient, a former cricket star (Danny Denzongpa) whom everyone calls Chinaman. Anyway China ka noodle wants to watch the World Cup before he gets a new kidney..yeah by this time how you wish you were on a flight to Sydney. Enough.

Last and also the least, good ‘ole Paresh Rawal is a janitor at Heathrow who must visit his 60-year-old baa at home (city, village, unknown). Catch! Not of the cricket kind.

Stubbornly, he wants to become a British citizen before returning to baa-land. He likes Tendulkar-Dhoni etc but genuflects before a poster of Queen Elizabeth to feel chip-chip-tally-ho. No go.

The second most important politician in the UK, after Tony Blair, keeps following our Paresh all over pubs till you’re afraid this might turn out to be some sort of a Brokeback Mountain.Oh well, Paresh bhai invites him over for chai..chances are that they’ll discuss cricket.

An omnibus movie – with cricket as the running thread – just doesn’t come together. The script by Rajat Arora strives to be clever and topical but is much blah blah about nothing. Admittedly, the dialogue is witty and keeps your ears wide open. Songs jingle and jangle in and out, the background keeps snarling Chikki de Chikki de..till you wonder if the sound man wanted Lonavla chikki. Or what?

The photography’s pretty bright and bouncy. So is the direction occasionally. Obviously Luthria is a gifted technician in search of a compatible script. Of the performances, Kunal Kapoor as Mr Nanga is disappointingly as weak as watery tea. Danny Denzongpa is bankably impressive. Nana Patekar plays stoneface to perfection.

As for the heroines, it seems as it they were run out like the rest of Hattrick. Wishful thinking, that title.

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