In comedy, it’s criminal to be just “adequate”. As it often (or in some cases, sometimes) happens in movies there are moments that open long-form discussions at drawing rooms, dinner tables and late-night sittings at chai hotels. These talks, regardless of the one’s cinephilic-status, often hop step and jump between two categories; the worst and the best of cinema (depending, of course, on one’s personal tilt).
Chasme Baddoor, a remake of the 1981 film starring Farooq Sheikh, which opened past weekend, fits in the third category – the ho-hum.
Weighed down with the premise of “Har Ek Friend Kamina Hota Hai”,the movie directed by David Dhawan (without his Govinda-esque flair), crackles, pops and fizzles on borderline “LOL” material.
Omi (Divyendu Sharma), a lame impromptu-poet, and Jai (Siddharth), a ham-actor who goes into Jim Carrey-esque paroxysms, are best evil buds to Sid (Ali Zafar), a goody-goody boy next door with a monotone voice. The trio, near-penniless (as college students of this type in movies usually are), live to dupe their landlady Jospehine (Lilette Dubey) and the owner of a local pub/restaurant Joseph (Rishi Kapoor) – who, if judged by the similarity of their names, are a pair made in Bollywood-heaven.
Seema, (Taapsee Pannu), a spunky-spirit with a tendency to run-away from eligible grooms (this is the fifth time she’s done that, a dialogue tells us) is the daughter of one-half of the twins, played by an almost wasted Anupam Kher. He’s insufferable as Seema’s Army dad and as her civilian uncle . She runs to Goa, catching the pervy-eyes of Omi and Jai (as Ms. Pannu is Mr. Zafar’s lead, one can see how this love-triangle maps out).
Mr. Zafar, written as the straight-laced lead, is hampered by uneven and insufficient character exposure; this maltreatment seeps its way into almost every player in the movie.
The screenplay, which produces some genuine and unexpected humor and three hummable songs (Har Ek Friend Kamina Hota Hai by Sonu Nigam, Dhichkyaaon Doom Doom by Ali Zafar and Shreya Ghoshal, Early Mornings also by Mr.Nigam, moves with ferocious unoriginality – especially so, in the final act. Mr. Zafar does what he can – sometimes admirably, at others derisorily.
However, kudos actually goes to the manic, if overblown (and criminally underwritten) Jai of Mr. Siddharth. Ms. Pannu is cute – but that’s all she has going for her. I guess, for its intended purpose – a teen-ish multiplex-friendly com of limited budget. The film is shot in maybe, five locations.
Chasme Baddoor chooses to be a fine candidate for comedic-mediocrity.
Starring: Ali Zafar, Siddharth, Taapsee Pannu, Divyendu Sharma, with Rishi Kapoor, Lilette Dubey, Bharti Achrekar and Anupam Kher. Directed by David Dhawan; Written by Sajid - Farhad (dialogues); Screenplay by Renuka Kunzru; Story by Sai Paranjpye; Music by Sajid-Wajid. Released by Viacom 18 and HKC Entertainment (special thanks to Mr. Hammad Chaudary for his support), the film is rated U/A – the film is family-friendly (a word I rarely find associated with Bollywood).