Review - Khatta Meetha: Common Man vs Noisy Drama?

wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
quick review:

Khatta Meeta is an attempt to portray political satire on the current situation of corruption and dirty politics in the country. The comedy is tasteless, and has no direction and the story serves no purpose.

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Wogma Review

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/.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Forced
  • Language: Little crude
  • Nudity & Sexual content: One scene with bare back
  • Concept: Vague
  • General Look and Feel: Slapstick

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 1.5
  • Story: 1
  • Lead Actors: 1.5
  • Character Artists: 1
  • Dialogues: 1.5
  • Screenplay: 1.5
  • Music Director: 1
  • Lyrics: 2

Khatta Meetha - Trailer

Comments (6)

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Hindi Radio:

Perfect review... I am slowly losing faith in Akki as this is his 3 flop in a row :(

Joydeep:

The movie is not so bad but it's a one time watch movie.

Bollyfan:

Common man attire? What about the Ray-ban glasses stuck to his face?

Quite an accurate review otherwise. :)

Swetha Ramakrishnan:

@Lost in confusion
You have it bang on, because that is exactly what Akshay might be thinking. I don't think he does movies now to prove anything. It's more about the money and the banner.

@Joydeep
Maybe for people who are Akshay Kumar fans, it could be a one time watch.

@Bollyfan
Yes, the RayBan glasses do pose a few question, but he does have common man sandals, and a reynolds pen, which the last time I checked was Rs. 6. So it does follow certain common man rules atleast!

@Ailumramu
Realism isn't expected from a Priyadarshan movie. We were expecting comedy, but even that seemed to be lacking because it was too slapstick. Although I agree the movie does have it's own followers, because the movie was packed first day, first show. And the audience was cheering and dancing along with Akshay Kumar!!

Bollyfan:

ailumramu : Rajpal Yadav's act was tasteless. Peeping Toms are creepy...not funny.

Swetha : "Realism isn't expected from a Priyadarshan movie" is too sweeping a statement and way off the mark. The guy has made Thalavottam, Kireedam (remade into Gardish), Saza-e-Kalapani and the recent Kancheevaram for god's sake. Even Vellanakalude Nadu, The source for Khatta Meetha, is supposed to be a very realistic film.

Moreover, slapstick isn't "not comedy". In fact, slapstick is one of the most difficult forms of comedy to pull off. Watch some old Blake Edwards films (The Great Race is a must-watch) or those featuring Lucille Ball. Closer home, Priyan's own Hera Pheri & Rajkumar Santoshi's Andaz Apna Apna are great examples of classic slapstick. Khatta Meetha was a confused film. It was lost between slapstick, a tragi-comic drama, a romance & satire. It ended up being none.

Swetha Ramakrishnan:

Bollyfan: You get me wrong. For a hindi cinema audience, who have not watched Kanchivaram, Thalavottam and etc, Priyadarshan is equated with comedy films. And I am talking of a mass opinion, which does not expect realistic portrayals. His comedies have been entertaining, but in Bollywood even his attempt at a political satire was far from realistic.
And my point was, Slapstick in Khatta Meetha was stale and not funny at all. Barring the fact that it is a genuinely enjoyable form. Plus, the original had an entirely different reception and agenda altogether.

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