Till the point Americans enter the scene, Tere Bin Laden engages and engrosses with its low budget indie charm and then you realise this production could've done with a little more money that would've let the script take the story to the U.S.
The impact of a good con is not really felt if we don't get to see the reactions of the people most affected by it. In this case, the Americans. And there's just one American character (theatre guru Barry John passed off as an American military officer in-charge of finding Osama here) we spot in the film apart from a couple of TV clips from U.S. news channels to really make us feel the impact and the humour of the big con.
Restricted by budget, the spoof keeps its action around the TV channel that broke the story and the jokes get lamer and tamer after a fantastic first half that sets it up for the big spoof — a harmless poultry farmer (yes, go ahead and make all the rooster jokes you can) gets conned by a TV crew into reading a few lines in Arabic without the slightest clue that he's being passed off as Osama Bin Laden.
How the TV reporter builds his team and ropes in technicians for each department to bring out the fake tape is certainly the funniest portion of the film and the ensemble cast brings out the flavour of the lines with flawless delivery and comic timing, the comedy and satire reminding you often of Kundan Shah's Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron.
And then, the fumble. One American officer gets out of a stretch limo somewhere in Pakistan and walks into a High Pressure Sewer Line where plans to catch Osama are drawn out. While some of the spoof portions do sound outrageous (like the rooster Sikander grabbing a grenade stuck to the farmer's hand and its aftermath that is sure to offend Maneka Gandhi and other animal lovers), there's always a thin thread of realism and logic that seems to tie the plot down from really escalating the events to a spoof of epic proportions. Until the climax, of course. But blame that on the budget.
You are bound to forgive the weaker portions of the film simply because halfway into it, you begin to love this motley crew of characters all set to con the world. And you are more than rooting for them.
Tere Bin Laden
Director: Abhishek Sharma
Cast: Ali Zafar, Barry John, Chinmay Mandlekar
Storyline: A TV journalist chances upon an Osama doppelganger, a poultry farmer, and puts together a team to create a fake tape as America panics.
Bottomline: An insane spoof that loses the plot halfway but you've already got your money's worth of laughs by then.