Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Khatta Meetha: This is no gourmet feast
“Khatta Meetha” raises a few laughs and also manages pointed homilies on the state of the nation.
It is about municipal officers and builders but is no “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” — either in subtlety, sarcasm or slapstick.
The actors and their characters are funny but too one-dimensional and obvious like the digitally-created elephant in this movie.
But it’s still a Priyadarshan film all the way — incredible as usual with even a few deaths thrown in.
In small town Satara lives a loser with his old, parents and his evil “win-laws”.
Loser wants to be a winner so he takes the highway to success. (Literally! He is a corrupt road contractor)
In between this simple story comes the comedy troupe — tiresome Rajpal Yadav, the usual Johnny Lever and the vintage Asrani.
And the preachy heroine.
And three songs — when the hero and heroine were in college before they fell out, an item song when the hero wins a road-roller and when the hero and heroine make up again.
Throw in the hero’s efforts to lecture the heroine on the economics and logic behind every middle-class Indian’s desire to corrupt and be corrupted.
Priyadarshan manages to portray the dilemma the common man faces when it comes to corruption. “Be damned if you do, damned if you don’t” given the premium attached to material success. This twisted logic drives the hero and the plot. And the great Indian middle class.
Akshay Kumar uses every expression he has perfected “Hera Pheri” onwards and Trisha is fetching in nice cotton saris.
But the quips that actually work are few for a movie this long.
If the comedy that ensues after one funny man is caught peeping into a lady’s bathroom or which uses fat people for laughs works for you then you will get your money’s worth.
The only hitch with “Khatta Meetha” is it moves like a rollercoaster between the ‘funny’ scenes and the ‘message’ scenes, not latching on to either long enough.
This “Khatta Meetha” is more of a “khichdi” — dependable but no gourmet meal.