The genre itself, the 'sex comedy', made famous by the likes of American Pie in the late 90s, is frowned upon by a bulk of movie goers. There are reasons for this: cheap shameless slapstick antics, horny teen jokes converted into verbal set pieces, mandatory boob-milk-penis-banana references, one liners that would barely amuse a 12 year old hitting puberty, and a sort of boldness and care-a-damn cheesy frankness that makes most of us cringe uncontrollably. Hollywood doesn’t treat it as a singular genre, instead combining goofball male capers and road trips with the crassness of farts and outspoken frustrated kids. The Hangover series is an example. The quirkiness of characters becomes an important instrument in the setup, where actors tend to let go and have a blast. We smile more at the fact that they’re clearly having fun in our faces, not at their terrible fat jokes and monkey business.
The problem with Indra Kumar’s 'sex comedies' is that his actors are made to look like ancient apes in the hands of hormonal writers. They twist and turn their faces, contort their bodies, rely on sound effects and act like cardboard cartoons - Chaplin+Bean with a muscle relaxant. You can almost imagine the director telling them "Can you twist your eyes too? How about your nose? Can you move your ears? Do it! Do it! Miley them up with your tongue! They love it!"
The sad fact is that the actors don’t need to do all this, because in Grand Masti, the writing tends to be borderline laugh-out-aloud. I am making this statement purely based on the assumption that most of it is original, as unlikely as that may be. A few deadpan faces would have helped, but then everyone and their mother is hell bent on making their own 'tributes' to the horrors of 80s Bollywood. So, OTT it is.
Let’s forget about Aftab’s gummy grin and Riteish’s eye-twitching for a bit. I’d have to admit that I did laugh at the sheer shamelessness of it, and it wasn’t even as unfunny and embarrassing as the Kya Kool Hai Hum series.
It does take a special kind of rare talent combined with an unabashed ability to channel your inner teen frustration to pen these unique scenes. The entire 3-husbands-looking-for-fun angle gets tedious after a while, which is why I’d have to appreciate the gloriously exploitative ways of Kumar and gang. There is no reason to condemn them here, because they’ve gotten willing 'actresses' and extras proudly displaying their parts to the world on a giant screen. If they have no issues with that, surely, we’re missing the point.
Instead, let me give you a sample of some situations:
- The 3 'mistresses' are named Rose, Mary and Marlot, keeping with the DK Bose theme name schemes. Add ‘Laura’, and instant genius.
- A running track of a naked male statue spurting water into a fountain. The possibilities are endless.
- The winner? A heavily endowed girl driving a car that can’t stop honking. Do the math.
- Aftab is required to convince the rest of his office that he is working in his cabin, without being there. He relies on the sounds of his computer being furiously typed on. His idea involves 'chana' and pigeons, and you’ll know this is immensely imaginative.
- His sister-in-law has an aggressive cat named Pussy. That is all.
- The 3 guys are from a college named S.L.U.T.S. (Sri Lajpatrai University of Technology and…oh, you get the drift)
- What is the time? Bra Panties. (12:35)
- Marlot proudly owns two milk factories that produce a brand called Jab Chahe Marlot.
- The Ranjeet wannabe, who resembles a sexed up Sajid Khan (Oh wait), thunders, "Don’t horny me!"
- The title song? "Rocket in my pocket, oh baby come and launch it…" Subtlety, if you haven’t noticed, is an underlying theme here.
- The brilliant hybrid word 'MadarBHAKTO'. You know that’s funny. You know it.
- A girl telling her father "But Daddy, I don’t want virgin pinacoladas anymore, I want cocktails!"
I believe that if the filmmakers manage to tone the clichés down and hire real actors, they could be close to mastering the genre.
Till then, Marlot. Rose. Mary.
- Rahul Desai aka Reel Reptile