There's total silence in the hall, and suddenly a nasal mating call shatters the peace. The opening credits roll to the beats of the title track, accompanied by images of Himesh Reshammiya first in a vest, then without a vest, and finally shirtless in the rain. You ignore your misgivings, and remain seated. Big mistake.
Let's start with the plot. Raghu's (Himesh Reshammiya) girlfriend Tara (Farah Karimaee) is arrested in Ireland on false drug-trafficking charges. Raghu goes to Ireland, breaks Tara out of jail, and kills the bad guy responsible for the mess. The End. We kid you not; this highly intricate and complex sequence of events plays out for an hour and 46 minutes.
So what if the storyline is rather basic, you protest. The film looks great, and it boasts of an impressive ensemble.
Yes, the locations are beautiful, and the production is slick and stylish. But, if the product that you're marketing is a pumpkin, then it doesn't matter how stylish your vehicle is. It doesn't matter if you put it in a well-lit, glass showcase. You're still selling a pumpkin.
This slavish worship of stylized presentation has also resulted in a rather disastrous attempt to present a cool villain - his track is so inadvertently funny that you'll be on the floor laughing. The villain's identity is kept secret throughout, and all you see is a mysterious hooded figure in black. Trouble is, the entire film is peppered with random images of this sinister, hooded figure awkwardly pretend-playing one musical instrument after the other. We noted a guitar, a trumpet, a violin, a cello, and then lost count when the bongos came on, because we had collapsed with laughter. What were the makers trying to convey? The villain is a psychopathic music conductor who will kill the hero with his musical genius? Either way - Most.Musical.Villain.Ever.
As for the performances, we're certain that the director Shawn Arranha is in a padded room somewhere, screaming his way to recovery. Perhaps he was lured by big names like Naseeruddin Shah, Shekhar Kapur and Kabir Bedi - stalwarts who are obviously in this film for a fat pay cheque. Their blasé disinterest shows even in their short appearances on the screen, and the producers' half-hearted attempt at providing a whitewash of credibility is unable to cover up the performances of the lead pair.
Debutante Farah Karimaae is Katrina Kaif-esque right down to the collagen-plumped lips and the vacuous acting. She spends much of the film in an Irish prison, in a bright orange jumpsuit, staring at a wall with an expression that conveys her distress at missing her waxing appointment at the salon. If director Arranha had told her that collagen, Botox and silicon were being banned worldwide, we believe she would have managed to look truly terrified. Though she's in jail, the film shows her running around all over Dublin in skimpy outfits through flashbacks and the hero's reveries. Genius.
As for our hero, firstly, let's salute his chutzpah. Born with a rare condition, the Reshammiya UniExpression, he has done the unthinkable - he has become an actor. Overcoming such a serious condition requires grit and hard work, and he's not lacking on either count. Bald pate - covered with a floppy mass of luxurious faux hair. Pudgy body - behold, he now has six-pack abs. Lack of fashion sense (remember the infamous cap from the early days?) - Reshammiya has had a complete style makeover, lovingly captured by close-ups and slow motion shots of him posing like a Victoria's Secret model all over Dublin.
As for the UniExpression, Reshammiya shows great gumption in using it proudly in every single scene. Fight with girlfriend? Seduction at the club? A shootout? A bomb explosion? Syphilis diagnosis? The Apocalypse? We give you - the unchanging, unflinching Reshammiya UniExpression.
In order to capitalize on this unique talent, the writers have given him plenty of corny, crowd-pleasing dialogues. Of course, bear in mind that they are meant to be cool, but the UniExpression transforms them to funny. In particular, there's a hilarious scene at a shooting range where a racist Irishman is brandishing a Glock and ranting about Indians being poor shots. Raghu walks up, pulls out his gun, shoots every bulls-eye in sight, and then tells the Irishman that his gun is a "desi tamancha", made in Azamgarh, no catalogue. He strides off in slow motion to the applause of bystanders.
As for the music, it's catchy fare, but not a single song stands out like the classic Aashiq Banaya or the more recent Hookah Bar.
However, you can't give full credit to Reshammiya for this gem. Did the director and the writers really think that the lead's nasal singing would distract us from the staggering lack of intelligence? In order to plan Tara's escape, Raghu approaches The Bird (Naseeruddin Shah), an escape artist famous for having broken out of 14 prisons. The Irish authorities allow Raghu to meet him regularly in prison, where they have long, leisurely chats about the finer points of breaking the law. Raghu also ropes in the Indian Ambassador (Shekhar Kapur) to help him with his scheme on the basis of nothing but his non-existent charm. Tara lands in this soup in the first place because she flies all the way to Ireland on the invitation of a new Facebook friend to perform at a non-existent event. After a point, your brain starts hurting from lack of use.
There's utter disregard for cohesive and transitional logic throughout, and you start to feel like you're in the middle of a nightmare brought on by a bad case of indigestion - you're in pain, it's all very confusing, but you can't wake up.
When you finally do, you'll recall with a shudder the sign that was flashed in big, bold letters on the screen before the film began - "No animals were harmed during the making of this film". Lucky animals - humans were certainly harmed by the viewing of this film.