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Movie Review: Shakal Pe Mat Ja (Hindi) 146

Made on low budgets, good scripts and sans star power, independent cinema has been making waves and raking in the bucks in Bollywood these days. You would assume a shoestring budget would have made them focus on a smart script and some new jokes. But alas, it is not so with this pathetic and amateurish film.

The name that literally translates into ‘don’t go by the looks’ is a comic drama of mistaken identities. Four boys, Ankit (Shubh Mukherjee), his kid brother Dhruv (Pratik Katare), a long haired imbecile Bulai (Harshal Parekh) and an NRI fatso Rohan (Chitrak Bandyopadhyay) are busy making a documentary on terror attacks and are caught by Airport’s security officials while filming aircraft landings.

Security chief Om Prakash (Raghuvir Yadav) and anti-terrorist squad officer Chauhan (Saurabh Shukla) know that the boys don’t look like terrorists but detain them for suspicion, partly because their video footage includes prominent landmarks and talks of explosives. Adding to the confusion is an attack by Omama (Zakhir Hussain) at around the same time. And then there is Amina (Aamna Shariff), a shady character.

This is supposed to be a comedy but has nothing fresh or funny. One humor track involves dimwitted teens doing dumb things to outsmart some equally dumb security staff at the Airport. And then there are jokes involving a fat guy’s rumbling tummy are lifted straight out of ‘Delly Belly’. This is not even slapstick or cheap humor. In comparison, Priyadarshan or Anees Bazmee would look like geniuses!

The plot is absolutely nonexistent and seems to mimick the satirical 2010 film ‘Tere Bin Laden’ which was well received. Looks like it was filmed in a mall with cheap looking airport signages pasted everywhere with a store room doubling up as a hideout for the bad guys. The lead actor also plays hero by diffusing a bomb in a clich├ęd scene of him cutting a wire followed by his lady love Prachi (Umang Jain) falling in his arms.

And what to talk of performances! Shubh Mukherjee tries to portray many facets: a college kid, deal maker for his friends, the smart one and a savior. Although the better one among the four, he has much to improve. Pratik Katare is jarring as the oversmart kid and Harshal Parekh looks totally lost. Raghuvir Yadav and Saurabh Shukla’s roles are over the top. Aamna Shariff was probably there to bring in glamor!

Well, what’s the obsession with the fat guy Chitrak Bandyopadhyay? His size and beard remind you of Zach Galifianakis in ‘Hangover’ series and ‘Due Date’ which in turn seems to have inspired Kunaal Roy Kapur act in ‘Delhi Belly’. ‘Bheja Fry’ too had fat oaf, Vinay Pathak who was initially funny but became predictable in the sequel. Chitrak’s despicable role hits nadir with his annoyingly fake American accent.

One would wonder why this movie was even made in the first place. It’s simple. Hrishitaa Bhatt, the producer is married to the director Shubhashish Mukherjee or Shubh as he calls himself in the credits. With too much on his hands, the film only ends up as a venture satisfying his obsession to write, direct and act in a film.

‘Shakal pe mat ja’ is a lesson that Independent cinema could be just as awful as or even worse than mainstream cinema. To make matters worse this juvenile film is longer than two hours. So, spare yourself the torture. Stay away!

Rating 1/10: Someone’s school project released on the big-screen
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