A fledgling director flaps his wannabe wings as he tries to come up with a feeble
spoof aimed at the baap of all baaps, Bollywood. Lights, camera, action - and
the trauma begins, as you sit through an excruciating film that prompts you to
press for parliamentary action to make euthanasia legal.
A Yale graduate, Pat (Pat Cusick) is a down-and-out actor, struggling to make
the best of his loser status. As his wife walks out on him and he is slapped in
the face with cancer, he decides to go ahead and make his death wish complete
by accepting a film project from the numero uno Indian producer, Subramanyam (Om
The project, aptly titled 'Maut - the death', is the quintessential potboiler, replete with the twin brother syndrome, Kumbh Mela-ness, a glycerin soaking herione and a goddess of your choice. Working the usual Bollywood way, the script is made up as the film proceeds, as Pat discovers, much to his Angrezi chagrin, that there is absolutely no concept of characterization.
The film also stars the hero of the masses, a wig-toting Munna Kapoor (Navin Nishchol), whose ego is three times the size of his head and his Nike shoes combined. He throws the usual starry tantrums and his weight around, and refuses the heroine permission to touch his hair (or what's glued to his head). The only thing that seems to resemble a fully stacked upstairs is the brain of the heroine Kajal (Perizaad), as she expertly dons and un-dons her two faces to face the hypocrisies of the film world.
Pat tries to cope with the haphazard method of filming and inadvertently stubs a few toes on the way. In trying to expose the clichés and quirks of Bollywood, Kukunoor seems to have a good idea, but unfortunately lacks the storytelling capacity, which differentiates the zebras from the deers. Several times, you see him come up with some funny stuff (the director of Maut screeching, while shooting a song, "Balls, I want more balls!") - yeah buddy, now if you can only do that to your whole film.
The protagonist Pat is just that - 'PAT'. He's pretty pathetic, and fails to garner any sort of interest from the audience. The heroine Perizaad is one helluva bright spark, and does a rather good job in this botched-up movie as she spews lines that consistently make sense.
Om Puri, though, is the absolute star of the show, as he pulls the South-Indian
director stunt. After his brilliant performance as the Pakistani Pop in 'East
', he attacks the silver screen with an acting style that is both facile
and extremely endearing.
On the whole, Bollywood Calling is a good idea, but baaaaad execution. It's like having a cow and not milking it.
Bollywood calling? Tell them I'm not home.