Oh the relief. Masala is an endangered art. Masala, the heart of Bollywood is replaced by garbage. It is getting harder and harder to find positives. The best we can come up is the to be thankful that one was family friendly, the other had no projectile vomiting, that one at least was not too degrading towards women…. ohh the plight of a Bollywood lover forced to endure the mediocrity and crassness. And ohh the relief when a mass entertainer is actually a pretty decent watch.
So, yes. This is massy, it has fluff, but like all Hirani films this also has a heart, and a message. The central; conceit, without giving much away, is what an intelligent but naive total outsider will make of Indian religious institutions. What will one make of the demands our “God” makes on us. What happens when the institutions running “Godliness” are challenged?
When media is honest, politicians don’t interfere, and the followers of a Godman are willing to listen to reason….. All these things are fictional, and therefore this is not a realistic film. Nor was any of the previous Raju Hirani films for that matter. The idea seems to be to float an idea, to challenge, and see what we can do with the system, society etc.
Just 2 years after the hit (and brilliant) Oh My God, one may question the need for this. One would be wrong. The need for promoting a rational view of religion is stronger than ever. Compare quality, though, and this one falls short. Starting with the hero. Im getting really sick of Aamir Khan’s raised eyebrows. Over wrought, overacted. (Comparing to Paresh Rawal in Oh My God seems almost unfair). Even the usually subtle Saurabh Shukla seems more a caricature than an actual “Godman”. But this movie aims to masses. Thus the heroine, a romance, useless songs, and a lot of fluff.
And a lot of sermonising. (Ironic for a film about denouncing religious leaders). The message is grabbed with both hands, and squeezed till the last drop of juice is extracted. (Any sugarcane Juice vendor would be proud). This, alas, is also Hirani formula.
So Hirani does what he does best: a comedy about something serious, with a hero we can all cheer for. Alas, this one misses the strong characters played by Boman, who is wasted in small role.
And so here we are, with Masala and formula, done right. This is not as good as Oh My God, this is not an enthusiastic thumbs up like Queen, but this is a thumbs up, undoubtably. Oh the relief to be able to recommend a mainstream film.