YEH SAALI FILM: I was categorically told by one of the cast members of this film that this is India's answer to Quentin Tarantino's cult classic Pulp Fiction. Thank goodness I did not let that raise my expectations too high, because, that would have hurt, hurt BAD! With the multi plot screenplay and characters introduced with their names scribbled on the screen, this one does try its hand at inserting itself into the genre of Guy Ritchie's cult classic Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; which in turn drew its inspiration in style and substance from Pulp Fiction... oh I get the connection, silly me.
YEH SAALI STORY: Lots of characters, lots of irony, lots of twists of fate, lots of mess to clean up within its confines. Hats off to whoever wrote the abovementioned summary. I'd love to have coffee with him/her. An engaging conversation is guaranteed because 20 minutes into the film, I lost completely track (or was it the films?) Trying to figure it out would be more taxing on the brain than any algebra exam I ever appeared for. Guess the gifted writers, in their quest to be smart, got entangled in their own mess and finally gave in to just trying to repair the damage. That led them into random plot points, absurd resolutions and ridiculous situations. A bullet connects the start and end of this film. An effort has been made to salvage proceedings with lots of abusing, the MC's, BC's and C#$#*$#'s, that try to lighten things up. But they don't work. For some arcane reason, the R word for prostitutes has been beeped a number of times. Small mercies.
YEH SAALI PERFORMANCES: Many films which try to entertain while going all over the place are some what redeemed by fine performances. This caper does not qualify. At all. The gifted International actor Irrfan holds a confused frown throughout, obviously not unaware of his motivation for anything he does. His peculiar style of talking and a few reactions here and there do hit the mark, but then he gets "struck by a bolt of lightening". That line in English, along with others are mouthed in with a careful Meerut doodhwala-like precision. Good luck to Spiderman. He's playing a villain. Just his language should keep Spidey on his toes. Prateik Babber needs to start suing people every time they talk about Chitrangda Singh in the same breath as his marvelously talented and highly respected late mother, Smita Patil. The woman has no clue what to do, how to react, what tone or style to speak in, where to take a scene and how to feel an emotion. Oh, she has also forgotten how to look gorgeous in this one as well. Arunoday Singh, a beefed up version of Mr Bean, supplements his apparent confusion with a straight face; trying to be cool and all but its easy to catch on after a while that its probably the only expression he can manage. Aditi Rao, the adorable aunt from Delhi-6 (another masterpiece), gets an even smaller role and reacts to it with over the top outbursts and flaring nostrils until Arunodaya's tongue is firmly thrust in her mouth, the cue for both of them to relax and forget about acting. By the way, I counted about 4... ok, 5 kisses at best. What happened to the record breaking 22 lip locks? Edited? Censored? Never happened? Don't be mistaken, I don't care. The rest of the able supporting cast of Yashpal Sharma, Sushant Singh, Prashant Narayanan (in drag as well), the boyfriend, and the gangs in their multiple hideouts keep flaunting their command over the language. They all cuss too and Saurabh Shukla uses the escort reference! Forget about internalizing, the actors find it very hard to even externalize emotions.
YEH SAALA SOUND: The sound design is too loud with unnecessary and irrelevant background music, along with sounds of bangles and objects. A lot of dialogue is not even in sync and the terrible songs sound like they are playing from an auto rickshaw deck, only the jhankaar beats missing.
YEH SAALA CAMERA: The film looks terribly dated (which it probably is), is very tackily shot with an arbitrary selection of stylistic shots randomly placed and is too dark at lots of places. There is a section where some foreign models are made to catwalk in some foreign land in front of the bad guy; a scene that has to be seen to be believed.
YEH SAALA LOGIC: Why Chitrangda's character keeps going back to her philandering boyfriend? What is he getting out of her? Why is a minister's daughter madly in love with the loser that he is? Why does Irrfan keep going back to rescue Chitrangda time and again without any prior relationship established? Why does Arunodaya keep walking about here and there after planning a kidnapping with a bunch of loonies, suspecting his wife, then making out with her...? Why does Prashant want to kill his brother and comes to pick him up dressed as a woman and why are there 5 gangs waiting to open fire with cops around? What is the exact amount of money in various international banks? .... the list is longer than Schindler's.
YEH SAALI CONTINUITY: Arunodaya clean shaven in a shot talking to Irrfan, only to be seen with a healthy stubble 5 minutes later. Irrfan writing a mail that reads: COMING LONDON VIA somewhere. Chitrangda looking fresh as a newly crowned princess after being in the same clothes and through a roller coaster of a violent day of her life.... I will stop!
YEH SAALI ZINDAGI: Am going to include points about the respected director of this disaster, a custodian of Indian Cinema, a man who never misses a chance to run down typical-Bollywood-no brainer-money spinners on the pretext of upholding the flag of excellence among the ruins of mediocrity. His past work has put him in a position of a cinema heavyweight, but seriously sir, this is definitely not a worthy film for you to put out and put us through. Many first time directors turned out interesting, ballsy and inspiring films last year, they all look up to you for much more than this saali film. Let's hope this was a flash in the pan, as random as the screenplay of this movie and we can look forward to a return to the greatness we expect you to at least, aspire for, even if it fails. Please Sir.
YEH SAALA PS: There were 2 films from this respected director waiting for a release. This was one of them. And the other? Is it unreleased because the distributors thought this one to be the better bet?