Movie Review: What the Fish
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)
Gurmeet Singh’s “What the Fish” is a comedy about a cranky old woman, her beloved goldfish, and a group of reckless, irresponsible young people who play havoc with her house while she’s away on a holiday abroad.
Sudha Mishra (Dimple Kapadia) is a cantankerous, divorced woman, who is constantly suspicious of everyone and doesn’t trust her own son. She reserves all her affection for Mishti, her goldfish, and her blossoming money plant.
When she leaves India to stay with her son for a month, Mishra entrusts her precious possessions and the house to Sumit (Sumit Suri), her niece’s lackadaisical fiancé. But the minute her plane takes off, the peaceful environs of her house are shattered.
Sumit hosts a party, and later hands over the house to an eloping couple. From here, the house changes hands regularly — being inhabited by a boxer, a rough-and-tough goon, and a motley crowd. In the process, Mishti is killed and replaced; the money plant faces the same fate; and we spend two hours following this seemingly trivial rigmarole.
What could have been a funny episode in a television sitcom is stretched into a full-length film, and at some point, the plot is bound to wear thin. None of the characters evoke any sympathy, and the humour is anything but funny, bordering on the offensive. A man trying to scare a woman who is alone at home, and tricking her into letting him inside is not funny at all.
When director Singh runs out of ways in which his characters can be duped, he resorts to toilet humour, something that most Bollywood comedies seem to feature these days. There are rare films — think “Blazing Saddles” by Mel Brooks — that managed to make farting funny. In this case, it isn’t. Neither is the loud bowel movement or the pubic hair on the toilet seat.
Of the actors, Manu Rishi as the slimy womaniser and Kapadia as Mishra stand out, in that they at least make an effort to etch out their characters. The rest of the ensemble cast is eminently forgettable.
“What the Fish” is a film that must have been funny when it was conceived, but for a plot that hinges on a goldfish and a plant, it needed some skilled direction and writing to make it work. This film has neither.
At the end, you will find it hard to care about the goldfish, the plant, the cranky old woman, or this group of what seem to be the world’s most immature and irresponsible people.
(Follow Shilpa on Twitter @shilpajay)