Suddenly, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named of the non-wizard world doesn't seem as unapproachable as Lord Voldemort.
Tere Bin Laden is actually not about Osama Bin Laden as much as it is about the silliness that is America's over-sensitivity. In the process of all its spoofing, it does something interesting - puts the entire world and Osama on one side of this battle of wits, and America on the other.
The story is about an ambitious Pakistani journalist Ali (Ali Zafar), who works for this trashy TV channel Danka, along with his cameraman Gul (Nikhil Ratnaparkhi). Ali wants to get the hell out of Karachi and move to the US, but thanks to a misunderstood inflight incident with a piece of cutlery in his hand, that took place 7 years ago, his chances of flying there again are less than zero.
A travel agent (Rajendra Sethi) suggests that Ali get a whole new identity, but charges an obscene amount of money for his services. When Ali chances upon a Bin Laden lookalike, a naïve chicken farmer Noora (Pradhuman Singh) in the streets of rural Pakistan, he has a brainwave that he thinks is sure to get him out of his problem.
He and his associates, including his cameraman, a Photoshop expert Zoya (Sugandha Garg) and a politically-inclined radio jockey Qureshi (Rahul Singh) dress him up as Osama Bin Laden and shoot a video that they sell to an Indian news channel.
Tere Bin Laden is an earnest little flick with tongue-in-cheek wit and a far-fetched story. What Ali resorts to in the flick is a highly dangerous exercise with unimaginable - actually, very imaginable - consequences. Weaving childlike humour around such an improbable (and mildly disturbing) concept feels like walking on a minefield at times, but still lightens you of the trepidation by the end of the deal.
Packaged in a run-time of around 90 minutes, it is a rather refreshing set of smartly-written jokes. The jokes aren't a continuous torrent, but the twists in the story are just as funny. The net result is a rather cute feel to the whole flick, despite certain periods of repetition and jokelessness.
The performances are delightful. The star of this movie is Ali Hassan, who tends to go SRK-ish several times, but who is a pleasant mix of good looks and promising acting skills. All the other actors do a great job, and a couple of them, including Rajendra Sethi and Piyush Mishra (who plays Ali's boss) are regulars of parallel cinema of a similar genre.
Shot with a Punjabi look and feel (including some fun Bhangra music), thanks to the Pakistani setting of the story, Tere Bin Laden is as meticulous a production as any of the smartest ads that you're likely to have marvelled at on television. There didn't need to be a grand budget for the movie, since it is the kind of simple production that relies on the writing.
We'd recommend this for a good uncomplicated hour-and-a-half of chuckles. It's not likely to stay around for too long, so catch it early.