New Delhi: With no big releases to draw audiences this week, smaller releases like 'Shakal Pe Mat Ja', 'Happi', 'Who's there?' and 'Na Jaane Kabse' were hoping to draw in the audiences between them.
But what actually happened, without a doubt, was a box office wipe out. Strikes one in the face when one walks in to an empty movie hall on a Friday evening.
'Na Jaane Kabse' stars new comer Gary Gill, Amrita Prakash, Sharat Saxena, Gurpreet Guggi, Lilette Dubey, Javed Sheikh, Ayub Khan, Anju Mahendroo and Himan Shivpuri.
'Na Jaane Kabse' is another brave attempt by the director Pammi Somal of the 'Mummy Punjabi' fame. It is a typical Bollywood love story between a 'self made' bartender-turned-resort's managing director and a librarian. At this point it must be added that the girl is actually the daughter of a bigger resort owner who has made the library for his daughter so as she does not have to work outside her protective precinct.
Could the movie have worked if the girl was actually a librarian? We may never know for economic differences are not Somal's bone of contention. Everyone in her movies seems to have ample money and fancy homes.
Karan (Garry Gill) is in need for a bride (albeit a fake one) when the girl he is supposed to get married to runs out on him. As Bollywood coincidences would have it he ends up taking a lift from Anjali (Amrita Prakash) and in a turn of events the 'drama queen' Anjali decides to help out 'tragedy king' Karan.
So begins the picturesque journey to a Karan's resort in the hills and in three days time they magically fall in love. Cliched? Whos judging? They have the rains at the strategic time, the magical make over of a spectacled Anjali to a rather pretty 'fake' bride, the photoshoots by the foreign press, the Bollywood perfected gestures of affection and jokes.
The subplot of the story is Karans effort to get his resort publicity and the entry of Anjali's father played rather deftly by Sharat Saxena who seems to have mastered comedy by now. He has been doing it since 'Mr India'. The main plot is the 3 day long love story filled with 'bhangra-perfect' songs incidentally Somal has bhangra dancers ready all the time! And one prays silently that there will come a time when B grade Bollywood will grow up from the stock formula of a boy who wants to marry someone hot and sexy and falls instead for a spectacle wearing 'gharelu' girl. And heres the twist he actually wears glassed himself!
And that is basically all the movie has to offer the songs are not half bad but they suffer from bad choreography. At one point in the movie Anjali has a dream sequence in Leh-Ladakh and one can actually spot her wearing sneakers in quite a handful of scenes till finally a close up shows her golden sandals. You have to give it to the director the locations are wonderful.
But as a film that aims to give a 'social' message as even 'Mummy Punjabi' does the message seems to be rather obscure Anjali tells her father 'Why don't parents understand that their children can choose their life partners well'.
Characters appear and disappear just as abruptly and the audience (the few who can brave this) sit and wonder why they are even there. In his debut Garry Gill has a long, long, long way to go. Amrita Prakash, who ideally has more on-screen experience than Gill does does a better job. She has played the kid sister in so many movies that she has not come out of that mode. It seems that Geet from 'Jab We Met' is the role model of all chirpy, smartly in-your-face girls all over India.
The story had some marginal potential but it was all done away with sub-standard acting from the lead actors. One can never figure out how the father suddenly changes his mind and is so terribly apologetic to his daughter she was after all in love with a 'ex-bartender' the old money against the nouveau riche logic. One cannot fathom the waste of an actor like Lilette Dubey and even Himani Shivpuri.
The most excruciating part of the movie is the love letter/proposal that Anjali sends out to her 'self made man of substance' Karan for she wants to make sure she does not hurt his bruised ego (bruised by being jilted in love).
Give this movie a miss, you have nothing to lose.