Just a couple of weeks back we had the President of United States, Barack Obama visit India. His visit was considered to be highly successful by one and all. The speech that he gave in the Indian Parliament received a tremendous response and is still fondly remembered. Even the music of PHAS GAYE RE OBAMA was launched while Obama was in India.
Remember 2008? The entire world faced a humongous crisis in that year, when it was hit by recession. What started in America had a ripple effect all over. Many people lost their jobs and companies faced a huge financial crisis. Some companies are still crawling their way back to stability.
Set in the recession-hit period of 2008, PHAS GAYE RE OBAMA is about NRI Om Shastri (Rajat Kapoor), who has lost almost everything due to the global meltdown. His condition is so precarious that he has been asked to vacate his home by the bank unless he pays up $100,000 (mortgaged amount) within 30 days. Unable to find any other solution, he returns to India to sell his ancestral property. But soon after he arrives in India, he is kidnapped by an underworld gang, who are also facing the brunt of recession. They feel that he is a millionaire. When the gang realises that it can't get any ransom from Om, one of the gang members Ani (Manu Rishi) comes up with the idea of exchanging Om with a senior gang for money. Even Om agrees, on the condition of getting 50% of the amount. This trick is even used by the second gang who pass Om to 'female Gabbar Singh', Munni (Neha Dhupia). How long will this 'pass and the parcel' last is what ensues.
Director Subhash Kapoor, who has also written the film, proves that when you have a good script everything else falls in place. PHAS GAYE RE OBAMA is a very smartly written film which is executed with precision. It's not an out-n-out comedy, but is laden with many uproarious moments, making sure you are entertained throughout. It's basically situational comedy, which is very refreshing to see. The other thing that works majorly for the film is the characters. Even though Om's passing continues from one gang to the other, the narrative is alive due to the superb characteriaztion. Even the zany dialogues are finely written.
It's hard not to laugh your guts out when a local teacher of an English speaking coaching class converses with his students in appalling English or when Bhaisaab (Sanjay Mishra) is cribbing about not having bullets in gun due to recession. The ingenious twist in the climax is sure to leave a wide smile on your face.
Rajat Kapoor plays his part brilliantly. Manu Rishi has an impeccable comic timing and is best of the lot. Sanjay Mishra is too good as the underworld gang head. Neha Dhupia fails to impress as the gundi. She lacks the rawness and the fright element which is a must for a bad character. Amol Gupte performs very well.
PHAS GAYE RE OBAMA is an outstanding film that perhaps even Barack Obama would enjoy. It's black comedy at its best!
Who says recession is bad when you can make a very good movie out of it!