By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
"Monsoon Wedding" with a ha-ha and a ho-ho? You got it!
A large Hindu wedding and an overeager TV crew recording the event for posterity... those are the two sides aligned in the same range of vision in debutant director Ishaan Trivedi's quirky and often corny look at the lighter of side of ritualistic Hindu events.
The joints in the joint family creak and lapse into a giggle occasionally and then groan to a grinding halt. Trivedi's thesis is largely lacking in thunder. He repeatedly gives away his antecedents on television by making the characters stand taller and off the boundary lines of credible characterisation. The plethora of passionately perky people who populate Trivedi's films look like a cross between sitcom stereotypes and stand-up comics.
There are seeds of a glorious comic romp in the satire. Most of the laughter is weighed down by slipshod dialogues and an enormous appetite for catching characters pretending to be off-guard.
The TV newshounds look like they've been watching too much news on TV. Everyone behaves like a veejay or a newsreader. There are seeds of an amiable romantic satire here. The way the bride of the family is caught red-handed by TV cameras planning to elope with her lover on the eve of her wedding is a straight spoof of Mira Nair's "Monsoon Wedding". But it is given strange slapstick treatment by a director who is neither a romanticist nor satirist, but a voice grappling to put together the grammar of giggles and social comment in a coherent collage.
Stinging comments on the role of the electronic media in the violation of privacy do have a delectable edge to them. But Juhi Chawla played a journalist with far more chutzpah and charm in "Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani".
Good to see the habitually grim and anguished Irrfan Khan playing an uncomplicated and goofy wheeler-dealer in a large joint family of caricatures. The duo's bantering courtship is smattered with silly dialogues.
The film supports none of the actors. More guillotined than goofy, the humour of "7 1/2 Phere" is more inviting in principle than practice.
This is one harebrained wedding you'd rather not attend.