Review: 'Jhootha Hi Sahi' is unoriginal, ‘tyresome’

Thursday, 21 October 2010 - 7:02pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Not even recommended as a date movie. You’d rather curl up with a DVD of Notting Hill at home.
Film: Jhootha Hi Sahi
Director: Abbas Tyrewala
Cast: John Abraham, Pakhi and others
Rating: **
In Jhootha Hi Sahi (JHS), director Abbas Tyrewala goes wrong on two counts – the first is that he borrows scenes, dialogues and characters from so many Hollywood films / American TV shows that it robs the film of any sort of originality. The second mistake he makes is with the casting – John Abraham as the geeky Siddharth and his wife, Pakhi as Mishka, both lack what it takes to have pulled off their roles.
Siddharth starts getting calls meant to be directed to a ‘Dost’ helpline, started for Indians in UK who want to commit suicide.  In a Hera Pheri-like situation, the helpline number gets interchanged with that of Siddharth and as a result he now spends many a sleepless nights answering calls from people on the verge of taking their lives. Let’s not dwell on Siddharth’s lack of expertise in dealing with suicidal people. It’s just something we have to deal with anyway.
One, night, Siddharth gets a call from a girl called Mishka, who wants to commit suicide because her boyfriend cheated on her with another girl repeatedly. As Siddharth dissuades her from taking the step, Mishka finds herself calling Siddharth on a regular basis now, and he too enjoys his late night conversations with Mishka.
Even as Siddharth makes himself out to be a go-getter who finds reasons to live in every little thing he does to Mishka, in reality Siddharth is your average guy. He runs a bookshop with two other friends, has a girlfriend who’s dominating and finds himself uncomfortable around pretty women.
But when he meets Mishka (without her knowing he’s the guy from the helpline), he starts manipulating their conversations so he can make her fall in love with him too.
Tyrewala, who wrote such gems as Munnabhai MBBS and Maqbool, has directed JHS from a script written by his wife Pakhi. For a guy so well-known for having written engaging dramas, it’s surprising he agreed to direct a script which is so scattered, and scenes that seem to be right out of American sitcoms, like Friends, How I Met Your Mother and even The Big Bang Theory.
While Warner Bros were worried the film was a rip-off of friends, they were wrong. While you may find traces of the hit sitcom, it’s really Universal Pictures that should be slapping a legal notice for having been ‘influenced’ by the Julia Roberts-Hugh Grant starrer, Notting Hill.
John plays a character similar to that of Grant’s – simple guy, running a book store with a weird bunch of friends. In fact, the climax has Siddharth’s friends driving him around London in a bid to ensure he meets his lady love on time, just like in the British romantic comedy.
Sadly, though, the film doesn’t have the same impact. While the music by Rahman is just about okay, the characters are weird for no real reasons. There are lame attempts made at depicting Pakistanis as people who use words like ‘janaab’ and ‘hai allah’, with a few jokes about ISI thrown in.
The biggest drawback of the film, though, is its lead actors. While John tries (very hard) to impress with his geeky boy act, you just can’t understand why Tyrewala didn’t go for someone who is more known for his acting prowess than Greek god looks. On the other hand, Pakhi should have restricted herself to have been just the film’s writer (not like that would have helped greatly) and let a younger looking, more seasoned actor to take on the complicated role of Mishka.
The film may have its moments, but not enough to leave you with a smile at the end. Not even recommended as a date movie. You’d rather curl up with a DVD of Notting Hill at home.

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