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Review: Mehbooba

The set designs, choreography, costumes, songs and editing belong to the Jurassic era. Don't waste three hours of your life, writes Khalid Mohamed.
By Khalid Mohamed | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 11, 2008 08:14 PM IST

Mehbooba
Cast: Baba Sanjay Dutt, Baby Manisha Koirala, Master Ajay Devgan, Her Highness Reema Lagoo, Vanishing Kader Khan
Misdirection: Afzal Khan
Rating: *

Harrow. In New York, a man makes a woman flutter like an imprisoned sparrow. In Budapest, there's another pest. And in Rajasthan, she doesn't even have a moment to grab a desert sun tan. Or a camel ride. Woe betide.

That's Afzal Khan's delayed-by-nearly-a-decade Mehbooba which is not likely to make any viewer on this planet go huba huba.

Simply because it's archaic and annoying, abounding with continuity lapses. In fact, the actors put on kilos, lose hair, gain hair. And at some point, it even seems as if the heroine had blown up to size-hero. She looks tougher than all the guys going gadzooks over her. Tough cookie.

Indeed, Cookieji (Manisha Koirala, fluctuating from plump and plumper to plumpest) insults that New York guy who believes he’s-so-hot-ho-ho (Sanjay Dutt). Male ego battered, Ho Ho somehow gets engaged to Cookie anyway, snores with her on the same bed, and then tells her to go fly a kite. She doesn’t which is a pity.

Instead, Cookie Mehbooba wings off to Budapest – perhaps because she adored the city’s locales in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

No, Sanjay Leela Bhansali isn’t there any more, but mercy be Ajay Devgan still is. Now he’s an artist who has been painting portraits of Cookie without even ever having seen her. Maybe he saw her in Saudagar or Love Story (not 2050, but 1942). Never mind. He loves her for some kinky reason. Even more kinkily, he doesn’t ever tell her his surname. Dhariwal. Nothing to be cagey about. Oof.

Next: Cookie tells Painter M F Dhariwal about her 'lost izzath'. Thunder-blunder, the lights go off all over Budapest. She even announces that there’s a 'daag' on her face, even though you can’t see it. Very odd. Indeed, this is turning out to be some sort of a Ram Gopal Varma ka Daag. Aargh.

More: Painter and Cookie are scheduled to marry in the Rajasthan Dhariwal Palace. And don’t faint. Painter’s brother turns out to be none other than the ho-ho New Yorker who ravished the heroine’s izzath. Now? Nothing. Plot goes totally Saajan (not the one with Asha Parekh, but Madhuri Dixit). Umm.

Supreme sacrifices are in order. You’ll have to make some too. Just watch Reema Lagoo making an unpublicised comeback as Her Highness Mata Dhariwal. Kader Khan fetches up too but vanishes faster than fresh vegetables from a market. With all this malarkey, if you were the painter, you'd go nuts. He does. Totally pistachios. Crunch.

Throughout, the attitude is regressive what with the woman pinging-‘n’-ponging between the brothers. Okay, she does complain that no one ever asks her for her opinion. In fact, that’s when Painter rushes off to commit suicide on the railway tracks. Chal chhaiya, I’m-leaving- the-earth-meri-maiyya, that sort of stuff. Huff.

Honestly, Ashok Mehta's cinematography of the Budapest locations is the only redeeming factor. Otherwise the set designs, choreography, costumes, the never-ending songs and editing belong to the Jurassic era.

None of the cast acts. Certainly don't waste three hours of your life on this time-na-pass.

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