Pyare Mohan, (2006)
There are several things you can count on when watching an Indra Kumar film. You can expect it to veer, sometimes very jarringly, from comedy to drama and back again. You can depend on some slapstick comedy - people falling, crotches being attacked, a lot of hitting. Chances are there's going to be a sick gag in there somewhere. Someone might get set on fire (and will be beaten in an attempt to put it out), and there's a good possibility that a monkey will be driving a car.
For most western viewers, Kumar's films would probably be a little over-the-top. They're a little alienating for those of us who aren't used to a little masala in our lives. The comedy is off, or otherwise it's too melodramatic. Dil has the infamous "rape" scene, Masti pokes fun at infidelity, Ishq - well, Ishq might be one of the worst movies made in any language. His films can be rude and crude with an in-your-face attitude.
I love them. I love them all. (Especially Ishq.)
And so when I made an impromptu trip into Jackson Heights today, I bought Pyare Mohan, Indra Kumar's latest, with no qualms (inspite of its impressive 3.8 stars at IMDb). Billed as a romantic comedy, this film still follow's Kumar's tried-and-true formula: a light-hearted first half leads to a dramatic second half - or, as my dad would say "Fun turns to tragedy."
Pyare (Fardeen Khan) and Mohan (ViveK Oberoi, or now I guess it's "Viveik Annand Oberoi") are friends who do everything together - they live together, they own a shop, they... jog. They depend on each other, too, because Pyare is blind and Mohan is deaf. Their disabilities don't prevent them from living with dignity, nor do they discourage them from hoping to find true love someday (their disabilities do, however, lead to awkward situations that make me laugh). True love finds unexpectedly while they're out one day... jogging (really, if that's how to find true love, I need to buy some new running shoes). Pyare and Mohan meet Priti (Esha Deol) and Priya (Amrita Rao), two sisters/aspiring pop stars that immediately take a liking to the two heroes. It's not long before Pyare and Mohan realize that they love Priti and Priya. Everyone has a rollicking good time.
And then fun turns to tragedy. Pyare and Mohan's feelings are, unfortunately for them, unreciprocated - they learn this just as Priti and Priya head to Bangkok for a show. Unfortunately, this trip to Thailand lands the girls in hot water. The villain... oh, have I not mentioned the villain yet? Boman Irani plays Don Tony Fernandez, the world's silliest gangster with an inappropriately named chhota bhai, Tiny. Tony had faked his own death in India to escape the authorities, and Priti and Priya and privy to this information. They're arrested in Bangkok for the murder of a priest (aside to Priti and Priya - next time you stumble into a crime scene, don't touch the murder weapon. It just looks bad). Tony and Tiny are out to kill them, and the police are after them, and no one believes their story.
Re-enter Pyare and Mohan. Immediately upon learning that their lady-loves are in trouble, they head to Bangkok to save them. Pyare, Mohan, Priti, and Priya are constantly pursued by Tony, Tiny, or the Bangkok police (it killed me to see several officers climb aboard a boat in scuba suits... and police hats). Much of the film from this point onwards concentrates on running and crying, then some more running, and maybe some more crying, followed up by some running. And then bleeding. A lot of bleeding, actually. Then some more running, crying, and bleeding.
But, as Shakespeare would say - all's well that end's well, hai na?
(I actually have a lot of ideas as to why Indra Kumar's films are, in fact, very Shakespearean, but I'll save that for another time).
The nature of Indra Kumar's films have me laughing nearly the entire way through. The humor is very silly bordering on the too immature - just the way I like it. They may have milked the blind-and-deaf miscommunication gags a little too much, but I can forgive a few flat jokes. I even enjoyed the fight scenes instead of fast-forwarding them. I even laugh at melodrama - you know, the crying and running and bleeding parts - because it's so incredibly over-the-top. I especially laughed at the references to other films, such as Pyare calling No Entry a nice film, Mohan telling Pyare that Priti's eyes were like Hema Malini's (Esha's mother, for those who don't keep track of Bollywood family trees), or that they watched Mann - another Indra Kumar film - during one of the songs.
A note to Indra Kumar: Thanks for the laughs. I think you're totally basmatic. Love, TB.