'Jai Ho! Democracy': Freedom misused

MUMBAI: Jai Ho! Democracy raises some hope because of a few names in its cast and credits. The film is written by Ranjit Kapoor, the co-writer of the all-time classic comedy, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983), and also has some talented actors in Om Puri, Annu Kapoor, Satish Kaushik and Seema Biswas.

However, as the film unwinds, rather than entertain, it goes on to belie your expectations.

There is an incident at the border. A hen lands up in no man's land and an Indian army cook is asked to go retrieve it. Once in no man's land, the Pakistani soldiers start firing at him. The Indian troops contemplate whether to retaliate. The media gets wind of the situation and turns it into a 'on the verge of war' story.

Concerned with the media outcry, a committee is set up to look into the matter. The representatives come from various parties and states. The idea is to create comedy through the conflict of communicating due to language barriers. The committee goes by the rule book and instead of discussing the situation, gets entwined into technicalities.

A contradiction to the committee's communication problem is displayed in no man's land where an Indian and a Pakistani soldier come face to face. They have no problem communicating as both speak Punjabi. They start in Punjabi for which no subtitles are deemed necessary. Both soon embark on a nostalgia trip about the pains of partition and crave for an undivided country.

The film is only 96 minutes long and yet feels like 36 minutes too long. The script is a total let down and its attempts to create humour fall flat. Of the star cast, which turns into caricatures, only Annu Kapoor does the Tamilian politician act well. Rest fill the bill.

Direction goes the same way as the script: nowhere.

Jai Ho! Democracy is a let-down and waste of talent.

Producer: Bikramjeet Singh Bhullar

Director: Ranjit Kapoor

Cast: Om Puri, Annu Kapor, Satish Kaushik, Seema Biswas, Adil Hussain, Aamir Bashir, Grusha Kapoor, Benjamin Gilani

'Kaagaz Ke Fools': Yawn Some

Kaagaz Ke Fools is a film about a husband-wife relationship, which is always sour. Strangely both love each other but it never shows.

Vinay Pathak aspires to be a writer but being the honest and principled man that he is, he won’t write anything cheap or filthy. He works for a small advertising agency, writing copy for lingerie and other such products. He is not ambitious while his wife, Mugdha Godse, nurses all the ambitions.

Producers: Faisal Kapadia

Director: Anil Kumar Chaudhary

Cast: Vinay Pathak, Mugdha Godse, Saurabh Shukla, Raima Sen

Vinay is supposed to be a talented writer but since he won’t break his rules about clean writing, no publisher is willing to publish his work. As a result he is still sitting on the very first book he has penned. Mugdha is a full time nag and the amount of nagging she does to egg him on in his writing would have made any man commit suicide. He loves his wife immensely and tries to placate her every time she starts off.

There is a gathering at Vinay’s friend’s house where one his friends provokes Mugdha asking about Vinay’s book and how his own book has sold about 1.75 lakh copies. To bring luck, Mugdha even asks a Feng Shui specialist to rearrange her house. Vinay is against all these things and again an argument starts. Vinay is not the suicide type so instead he leaves home trying to find alcohol and shelter in his friend’s house.

There again he comes across the same friend whose book has sold 1.75 lakh copies. An argument ensues and is about to become violent when Vinay is asked to leave.

Vinay meets a friendly rickshaw guy who takes him to an illegal bar cum whorehouse cum casino. Here, he is asked to try his luck at game of cards egged on by Raima Sen, a prostitute who hooks her customers from this place. Vinay wins some real money. Seeing a prospective client in him, Raima takes him to a friend’s house to seduce him. Vinay is totally sozzled by then and keeps uttering Mugdha’s name while keeping Raima at bay.

After some forced sequences which are meant to be comic, Vinay’s book is published, the title having been changed from ‘Ek Thehrisi Zindagi’ to ‘Ek Tharkisi Zindagi’ and, predictably, it becomes a bestseller.

The problem with the film is that the script is totally contrived. Characters are supposed to be Punjabi and actors trying to use Punjabi slang is hardly funny. Direction is poor with unnecessary cutting and shifting of scenes. Music seems inspired from old time Asha Bhosle repertoire. Cinematography is average. Editing is non-existent.

Vinay Pathak does what he does in all his films, playing an honest simpleton which, for him, does not take much effort. Saurabh Shukla’s playing of a pucca Punjabi is jarring. Mugdha’s nagging is overdone. Raima makes faces, which cannot be passed off as acting.

Kaagaz Ke Fools is a poor fare with no hope at the box office.

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