Film: Mere Baap Pehle Aap
Banner: Shemaroo Entertainment
Producer: Raman Maroo, Ketan Maroo, Mansi Maroo
Star- Cast: Akshaye Khanna, Naseruddin Shah Shobhana, Paresh Rawal, Om Puri, Rajpal Yadav, Manoj Joshi, Genelia Dsouza, Archana Puran Singh
Here comes yet another Priyadarshan comedy with its staple cast, convoluted plots and mixed genres. Mere Baap Pehle Aap has an unconventional father-son pair–Paresh Rawal and Akshaye Khanna–in a subversive paternal relationship. Here, the son is the father and the father the son.
The film also has a chirping youthful bird by the name of Shikha (Genelia D’Souza) who flitters around adding a lot of zing and zest to the proceedings. Shikha is staying with a dignified but silent (why o why!) Shobhana, gorgeous as ever, who holds the essential key to the plot. Oh yes, it has a delectably hammy Om Puri in a completely miscast role.
So what happens? Boy meets girl and keeps meeting until boy’s father meets girl’s aunt and realises it’s his long-lost love. Boy and girl too realise this and set about on a mission to re-unite them. Oh! This sounds too interesting for words. While the (main?) plot appears long after even the interval, the film wastes its time and energy in unnecessary sub-plots that do nothing for the main one.
There is the lusty Om Puri constantly looking for an alliance, a foul-mouthed Archana Puran Singh, a tough cop constantly catching hold of Om Puri (and alongwith him Paresh Rawal) for his ‘mis’deeds and the befuddling track of Shikha playing befuddling games with Akshaye Khanna push everything else against the walls. So much so that the main track hardly ever gets a breather.
This, yet-another remake of a Telugu movie, follows the Priyan formula of bawdy comedy with pedestrian drama and a dedicated love angle. It fortunately maintains a standard that fell atrociously with Dhol and sustains itself through the meanderings right onto the conventional end. The film, like any other Priyan film, expends that much energy on cinematography, music, sets and other production values as is required for a mass entertainer which is as factory-produced as RGV’s underworld sagas.
So if the film works, and it does on various levels, it is solely because the lead cast and the supporting actors hold it together. They see the film through useless wanderings, difficult dialogues, silly antics and forced capitulations with an almost delightful art and chemistry that actually bemoan the script more. But of course, Priyadarshan has always mastered the art of extracting performances.
Khanna and Rawal enact typically two-dimensional roles with few guidelines and few changes in emotions or tones. But they make the father-son duo as entertaining as they make it endearing. Though Khanna screams and rants through most of the film and looks terrible in his wig, his delivery is engaging. He has company in the terrible-ness of his wig in Om Puri, who despite gross injustice, still packs a punch with his antics. Rawal, always a stalwart, plays the meek father and later lover superbly, leaving you hungering for much more.
Genelia breezes through the film like a breath of fresh air exuding a charming youthfulness that is by no means too sweet or sour but just right in its tanginess. Her exuberant smile and vivacious personality give her nondescript role the elevation that does great credit to the film. She is eminently watchable in all sequences in all their shades.
But it is the beautiful and ethereal Shobhana who poses the enigma here. Brilliantly miscast in a role which requires her to do nothing except stand and give out two emotions alternately, she is charming to watch. More screen time and more attention to the track (on which the whole movie is named!) would have lifted the worth of this one a gazillion times!
Not enough to charm ecstatically, but enough to make for some time-pass a la Hulchul-Hungama style. If you are game then Priyan surely won’t disappoint.