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No funny, no money - Money Hai Toh Honey Hai

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TRYING HARD TO EVOKE LAUGHTER :Money Hai Toh Honey Hai
TRYING HARD TO EVOKE LAUGHTER :Money Hai Toh Honey Hai

Genre: Comedy

Director: Ganesh Acharya

Cast: Govinda, Manoj Bajpayee, Aftab Shivdasani, Celina Jaitley, Hansika Motwani, Upen Patel, Prem Chopra

Storyline: A dying man names six random strangers in his will to take over his textile business

Bottomline: Say Govinda, Govinda to your money. Drop it in the Tirupati temple instead.

You can spot a comedy that tries hard from its first frame. Right from the moment the lead women, dressed as Chinese, sing us the title in a sing-song accent for the opening credits, you know what to expect. Before you can say ‘popcorn,’ there’s good old Govinda letting his eyebrows do all the dancing.

Ganesh Acharya’s filmmaking is like David Dhawan overdosing on hip-hop and bling, which would’ve been interesting by itself but the dance choreographer-turned-director also has ambitions of being Rajkumar Hirani or Aziz Mirza, as he attempts to put together a good-hearted ensemble to manufacture feel-good cinema.

Like David Dhawan’s cinema, the wackiness quotient is high. Sample the score that sometimes crows like a rooster to suggest that the character (Prem Chopra) has gone cuckoo and sometimes, cues in the rap version of ‘Tujhe Mirchi Lagi Toh Main Kya Karoon’ as Govinda, dressed like a gangster rapper, sporting a G-tattoo, drives in for a character introduction scene. And, like Dhawan’s cinema, the crass quotient hits new lows.

About cuts and curves

Like, when Upen Patel replies to: “I like your guts” with a charming “I like your cuts and curves.” And, when moments later, the cleavage-obsessed camera loses itself in the curves of a model-kamwaali bai, it is also a chance for Govinda to size up single-ready-to-mingle Sophie Chowdhury a few scenes later and wonder “Itna Achcha Maal Ab Tak Godown Main Pada Hai (Such goods lay waste in the warehouse until now).”

There’s scope for Archana Puran Singh to show us what a cougar she could be and to establish Upen Patel as (as Manoj Bajpayee wisely observes: “Dheeley langot ka lagta hai”) one with loose morals.

Poor Patel plays a struggling underwear model with author-backed lines such as “Kachcha pehna paddtha hai, utarna paddhta hai.”

Ganesh Acharya, like Dhawan, too has a natural flair for spoof when he pokes fun at an Ektaa Kapoor-like character and the soap opera routine as we are introduced to a popular TV bahu called Meera (a chirpy Hansika Motwani) who wants to break out of the ‘devi’ image and become a diva.

It captures the angst of a TV star, though light-heartedly, as she whines about not being considered for Filmfare awards, item songs or Koffee with Karan. And, God bless irony, a bikini-savvy Celina talks of coming up with affordable designer-wear for the common man blessed with a not-so-heavenly body.

Hardly cohesive

Despite a few such ideas with potential, the film is hardly cohesive. Now you see Aftab (not too bad this time) and he’s gone for a while. You see Kim Sharma and she’s gone for the rest of the movie.

Till the interval point, the disjointed parallel narratives (over half a dozen of them) keep inter-cutting each other with no rhyme or reason, making way for each actor to dance to some hip-hop loops with Govinda before their individual stories are sketchily re-assembled together at interval block for a common conflict — though there is none.

They all need money but not all of them are in dire need really. Yet you see a street-smart Govinda stare tragically into nothingness just to keep the mood of the montage intact. That’s the kind of drama that ruins it for Acharya.

Yes, David Dhawan makes a movie out of random dramatic scenes too but he knows where to cut it short and get on with the story. Here, Acharya has noble intentions and half-decent performances but finds himself in troubled waters not knowing what’s important and what’s not. He wants to tell us a story about six different individuals with differing attitudes towards money who are put together in a situation, thanks to a random screenwriting ploy, so that they can earn their money with what they are best at. But he does not understand editing, brevity, pace or the need for consistency of mood.

He needs to forget dance basics — it’s not just a few great steps that make it a popular number. It’s that cut to the beat.

SUDHISH KAMATH


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