Rohit Kaushik's debut film as director, Mera Dil Leke Dekho, is like a wax fruit. It looks like an apple, and if you hold it in your hand, you might still be fooled into thinking that it is an apple. But when you take a bite, instead of a delicious juicy apple core, you get bitter wax instead.
Mera Dil Leke Dekho looks like a comedy. Some jokes on the promos may even make you think that it is a comedy, but when you actually sit down to watch it, it leaves a bad, bitter taste in your mouth.
This is, of course, not to say that it is terribly deceptive in its packaging or promotions. It's not. It’s one of those films that flies under most radars, and only the most hardy (or foolhardy?) of movie fans actually register a blip on their movie-dar. This from a movie being touted as Jackie Shroff's comeback film.
If the packaging is lackluster, then the film itself lives up to most expectations set by those, and sometimes even exceeds them by being downright offensive in its humor. You see, not only is it a completely crass comedy, it is a completely crass comedy that pokes extremely distasteful fun at bisexuality and homosexuality.
Produced by Shatrughan Sinha's Shotgun Movies, this film teams up a debutante director with a first time screenplay writer in Nandita Puri. Big mistake. Both of them are clearly not adept at what they purport to do, and have a very loose grip over their story, characters, and the themes they are trying to handle.
This would not be so much of a problem if the actors had any charisma, or the film had any genuinely funny moments. While the actors are largely uninspiring, with the exception of Archana Puran Singh and Koel Purie who at least do a serviceable job, the humor is open to your interpretation of funny.
London-bred Punjabi girl Archie (Koel Purie) is desperate to get married, when she meets Rahul (Punit Tejwani) in London and promptly falls in love with him. Rahul, meanwhile, is disinterested in commitment. In bizarre twist after bizarre twist, she lands up in India to marry him, but ends up believing that he's gay, and that he is in love with his friend.
This is compounded by the fact that Rahul's mother (Archana Puran Singh) starts believing the same thing. She also believes that her husband (Jackie Shroff) is bisexual, and is having a gay affair with her son's friend. This confusion leads poor Archie to fall in love with Rahul's gay friend, thinking that he is the only straight one.
If the plot seems confusing, you should see it being executed in bad gay joke after bad gay joke masquerading as humor. I am willing to bet that even if (God forbid) crass, oafish, distasteful comedy is your cup of tea, you will find the goings on in this film unfunny and largely uninspired.
Of the cast, Singh, being used to over-the-top comedies on television and film, does her usual schtick and manages to keep her character in control, and makes her presence felt by injecting her brand of comedy to the proceedings. Purie manages to do a passable London Punjabi girl impersonation, and might even raise a laugh or two. Shroff is singularly disinteresting in his hammy portrayal of a womanizer, and has three stock expressions to fit all scenes. Which is more than that can be said about the rest of the cast, including the lead guys.
Please don't mistake this film for what it is not – a smart comedy about sexual orientation and relationships. Hell, even if you don't even expect more than 5 laughs out of the whole thing, you might be disappointed with just 3. I strongly recommend catching repeat viewings of Lage Raho... or Khosla Ka Ghosla, instead of wasting your time on this film. This is a movie that takes unnecessary digs, infuses sexual humor, and yet manages to come out a cropper in the funny quotient. Stay away and save yourself a migraine.