A man fantasizing about slowly removing a sari, blouse and undergarments off a tall and fair 20-something is hardly rare. And if the 20-something he is fantasizing this with is a female, he'll even look normal. The problem comes however if he thought it was a female. Indeed, among the very few things that men can still be sure about is what they'll get to see when they undress a woman. The first time something goes wrong there, as our landlord repeatedly tells us, no amount of therapy can help. (Our landlord knows lots of things.)
Paying Guests is the tale of 4 men who are forced to act like 2 men and 2 women (just like Jayalalitha). Yes, it is a premise bristling with comic potential - think everything from wrong toilets to rape scenes and spare tennis balls - and writer-director Painter indulges himself fully, with the result that it is a rare laughathon from the Bollywood stables. Sure, it's a copy from a popular eponymous play, and everybody knows where the climax came from, but like we at fullhyd.com always say, when a good joke is copied, the credit gets shared by several people.
Parag (Javed Jaaffrey), Bhavesh (Shreyas Talpade), Parikshit (Ashish Chowdhary) and Jayesh (Vatsal Sheth) get thrown out of their house when in a drunken stupor they abuse their landlord Kiska (Asrani) thinking they are talking to his photograph. To avoid such mistakes, we at fullhyd.com do not keep any photographs of our landlord in our office, and as a further precaution, we do not talk to photographs or to people who have photographs. Unfortunately for our foursome, lack of such small precautions leads to a desperate situation where they suddenly have no home.
Given that they're all out of jobs, too, they have no money either, and when they find that the only person willing to have paying guests without any deposit, Ballu (Johnny Lever), will allow only couples, they decide that they only way out is to fake themselves as 2 couples. Well, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do - or, in this case for Bhavesh and Parag, a man's gotta do what a woman's gotta to. So they shop for several women's clothes, some lingerie and some tennis balls. (Our landlord repeatedly tells us that when you are a man shopping for women's clothes, you should not go into the trial room and come out.) (Our landlord knows lots of things.)
Anyway, the duo dress up as women and call themselves Karishma and Kareena, and the 4 guys land up as 2 couples in Ballu's home. Now staying with a woman in the same house means that while you don't get to watch your favorite channels, you at least get sex. If you are staying with a man dressed as a woman in the same house, you should be worried if you are enjoying watching TV with him too much, and even more worried if you are getting sex, too. Fortunately for our men, they all quickly get jobs, but unexpectedly one day, Bhavesh becomes pregnant.
Unless you are already having a rollicking life where you are laughing out loud several times every hour, many times even when there's no one around and no reason to laugh, Paying Guests is 2 hours well spent. Filled with plenty of ridiculous gags that make you slap your thighs convulsively and shake the person sitting next to you frenziedly, it is a fairly riotous outing that reinforces your belief that you can have fun.
Shreyas Talpade is easily the pick of the lot as Karishma, a hilarious performance. No one is really below par, and the performances in this one in general are its highlight (though the women really have very little to do). There's plenty of situational comedy, and quite a few good lines. The climax however is a big letdown, partly because you've seen it before in a much more acclaimed movie, and partly because it just isn't good enough.
There's not much by way of music, but it anyway won't be for the couple of songs that you will go to this one. It's been a while since there've been comedies from Bollywood, and this one is a good way to disentangle from the world for a while, and worth a watch. And anyway, like our landlord repeatedly tells us, just that you don't watch a movie doesn't mean the next movie will be better. (Our landlord knows lots of things.)