Review - Khatta Meetha: Common Man vs Noisy Drama?
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One would expect the Priyadarshan and Akshay kumar combination to be able to come up with something potentially entertaining. For my sake, while standing in the line for tickets I was praying Khatta Meetha would be the funniest movie of the year. It wasn’t. I’ll tell you what surprised me, though. Not the fact that people were rolling over and laughing on stale jokes, not even that the first day, first show was almost housefull. It was mostly because the audience cheered loudly, whistles et al, at intervals of 5 minutes for everything Akshay Kumar said.
All there is to Khatta Meetha are a bunch of hyperactive characters, trying to pull off a “political satire” with slapstick comedy and no storyline. It is a remake of Priyadarshan’s original Malayalam film Vellanakalude Nadu, which was highly successful in 1989. Adapted to a Marathi setting the movie is about a notorious road contractor Sachin Tichkule (Akshay Kumar) and his journey through corruption and red-tapism.
He struggles with his job, regularly cons people off their money, but it’s Akshay Kumar. He is the ever so earnest protagonist who is only notorious because he needs to make the audience laugh. His comic timing is just about decent but the jokes are too stale. Priyan’s stock characters, Rajpal Yadav and Asrani, are no better. Even his antagonists, Akshay’s brothers and brothers-in-law, have negligible screen presence, and all their interactions take melodramatic, loud acting to a new level.
Trisha Krishnan seems like a dummy in the hands of the script, or lack thereof. It seems like she was placed in the shoot and asked to recite her lines, because she constantly shifts between being the girl next door-wannabe abhla nari, and a curt municipal official. She carries off neither roles, nor certainly a role that commands for her to be taken seriously.
The most frustrating part of the movie is how earnestly it tries to comment on contemporary corruption issues. Priyadarshan tries to pull it off by shifting in a jarring manner between loud comedy and even louder intense scenes. None of which seem to fit in the larger context of the film. Sure, the movie brings out the truth about road construction and dirty politics, but what’s new about it? Rajneeti would have been a quieter option.
Maybe we can give him some credit for trying, but I’m guessing that got washed away the minute we heard about the comparison between Sachin Tichkule and R.K.Laxman. For God’s sake, they are not the voice of common men in the same way. Sachin Tichkule is Akshay Kumar with a good comic timing but no sense of a good script, loud dialogues, a few provocative songs and a blind audience following.
The movie attempts to say a lot in the 2 and half hours it runs, but with repeated action. It’s a cycle of noisy dialogues, slapstick jokes, cut to serious scenes with forced intensity and back to comic relief. The chemistry between Akshay Kumar and Trisha Krishnan is cold, with their constant bickering and his sexist attitude towards her. It seems like a bigger farce when they get together at the end of the movie, out of the blue, without any real explanation.
The only thing that seems mentionable here is that Akshay Kumar carries off the common man attire in an apt way. When you see him in a dull shirt, a cheap pen in the pocket and chappals, you believe he looks the part. When he screams in frustration that he cannot to afford to pay any more money, amidst his bureaucratic mess, you understand. But that alone is not enough to pull the movie through. It seems dated because it might have been blindly adapted from 1989 to 2010. The setting seems old; the women characters behave like they live in the 40s and the social issues have been overdone. Remember Hera Pheri? Surely Priyadarshan and Akshay Kumar are capable of much better.
This review is by guest reviewer Swetha Ramakrishnan. Swetha Ramakrishnan is currently living and working in Mumbai. She's a self-confessed film enthusiast and can most likely be found talking to anyone and everyone about popular cinema and her love for SRK. Swetha Ramakrishnan also blogs at http://swetharamakrishnan.blogspot.com/.
- Violence: Forced
- Language: Little crude
- Nudity & Sexual content: One scene with bare back
- Concept: Vague
- General Look and Feel: Slapstick
Khatta Meetha - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Website
- Banner: Hari Om Entertainment Co, Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd, Cape of Good Films
- Director: Priyadarshan
- Lead Cast: Akshay Kumar, Trisha Krishnan
- Supporting Cast: Makarand Deshpande, Rajpal Yadav, Manoj Joshi, Neeraj Vora, Milind Gunaji, Asrani, Aruna Irani, Urvashi Sharma, Tinu Anand, Kulbhushan Kharbanda
- Cinematography: V Manikandan
- Choreography: Pony Varma, Ganesh Acharya
- Music Director: Pritam Chakraborty
- Lyrics: Nitin Raikwar
- Running time: 152 minutes
- Reviewer: Swetha Ramakrishnan
- Genres: Slapstick