The movie is packed with stalwarts in the acting department; there's Paresh Rawal, Kay Kay Menon, Pawan Malhotra, Manoj Tiwary and Zakir Hussain. Every actor mentioned here, I must admit, is very different in different movies. They do not carry their characteristics into the next film and instead, bring out the character they are to portray. And that is the hallmark of a good actor. All the above-mentioned actors are adept at that. There is no staleness of continuity of their earlier performance. Sadly, the same cannot be said about Rahul Bose who also features in this movie. When you see him perform you say to yourself, yes, he was the same in the earlier movie too; in this case SHAURYA. The dialogue delivery, the tone, the voice modulation... nothing changes.
You may be wondering why I'm getting into this aspect of the movie. Well, the simple reason being, there's nothing else to get into and what you look for after a few minutes is the way the actors, especially the above-mentioned portray their characters. The movie has many layers within layers and at the start, though boring, looks to be interesting enough as it progresses. But it is when director Sanjay Chhel tries to peel off the layers that he gets stuck somewhere.
A theatre group is at the centre of action here. Their play Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam has been running to packed houses and during one particular scene when Uday Shankar Majumder (Paresh Rawal) mouths a line, Arjun (Rahul Bose) who is in the audience gets off to go back stage to meet Shabnam (Mallika Sherawat) in her make-up room. It appears that Arjun is in love with Shabnam, but she is already married to Majumder. Later, we are told that Arjun is a RAW officer on a secret mission. Why he is wooing Shabnam, only he knows. Here in lies the tragedy of the supposed comedy.
Then you have the terrorism angle being introduced followed by patriotism and then you are entangled, trying to keep pace as the layers are being peeled off by Chhel. There's a constant take-off on the classic of the black and white era and I sense that old timers will not take lightly to the rip of off something as spectacular as Mughal-E-Azam.
Like Rahul Bose, you can't distinguish the Mallika Sherawat of this film from the one in UGLY AUR PAGLI. Although you leave the film having laughed a few times, you can't help but think that this here, could have been a better film, what with the above-mentioned powerhouse of talent at Chhel's disposal. Cut the MUGHA-E-AZAM ridiculing, and focus on the terrorism and patriotism angle with a digestible dose of comedy. That should have been the menu.
One question to Chhel: Sir, when the Dubai Don is in Goa, at the theatre, for a meet with all the underworld members, why are the members in the audience, the same as the ones who came to watch the plays? Either you thought the viewers are fools and would not notice or you just forgot to dim the lights.