By Subhash K Jha, IANS
Jane Austen comes to Lokhandwala in this strange, sporadically interesting take on the quirky ways of the heart.
Trouble is, old-fashioned raconteur Dharmesh Darshan doesn't know which way to take his giddy plot… Austen's austerely satirical territory or the brassy full-on hardcore drama that cyclically emanates from North Mumbai.
Footage stuck midway out of the door AAP KI KHATIR is like that trendy joke, which you want to smile at because your favourite bua tells it with a lot of gusto. Sure, the film fakes the vivacity with much gusto. But at the end of one wedding, half a dozen songs and no funeral (not counting the poor distributors) you are left wondering… whose laugh is it anyway?
Everyone talks loudly, as though they just saw the unedited version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding… or is it a soul-less version of Monsoon Wedding? Darshan's makeover attempt is distinctly derivative.
Countryside London (sometimes nicely photographed by W B Rao, sometimes not) is populated by boisterous Punjabi, Gujarati characters who either speak too loudly or crack jokes that depend on the way you rhyme ‘changa’ with ‘nanga’ or ‘tagda’ with ‘ragda’.
At times Darshan over-reaches with his ambitions. He uses Brechtian direct-into-camera monologues by the characters, as though the masala needed to be garnished with burps of cerebrality.
To his credit, Akshaye Khanna says Sunil Munshi's words with a lot of 'felt' emotions. He imbues his character of the charlatan from Lokhandawala who agrees to pose as Priyanka's lover-boy in London, with plenty of perky humour. Alas, the script and direction don't support Akshaye's attempts to rise above the chronic silliness that colonizes the inner world of the constantly-festive characters.
Damn, you aren't even sure whether these dancing-singing-eating-hemming-hawing characters have an inner life!
Suffering from ingrained shallowness, the characters from papa and mama Anupam and Lilette (how many times will she do her cleavage-cascading over-the-hill tarty mom's act?!) to sisters Amisha and Priyanka (with a strange cousin, played by newcomer Bhumicka Singhh, to complete the Austenian ambience) are all frozen in state of retarded bliss.
The 'punjabiyat' that the narration stresses begins to get on your nerves in the second half. But yes, you enjoy Raju Khan and Bosco-Caesar's party-all-night swaying hips, lips and other filmy flips.
But the pointless prattle grows unbearable in the second-half when the celebrations stop short for pockets of Bergmanesque heart-to-hearts between the sisters Amisha and Priyanka.
Amisha hams. Priyanka, careening between effervescence and wistfulness tries hard to look like she's having fun.
That makes one of her.