By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
When it doesn't TRY to be funny, it"s funny. And when it's not funny, it's quite heartwarmingly touching…honestly!
Picture this. A tv anchor who has made a career out of spoofing satirizing and savaging Hindi-film conventions decides to direct a film where three certifiable studs(check out their huffing harem of haseenas of every hue and colour preferably blonde) wake up one morning (in separate beds with different blondes) to find a baby on their doorstep.
No, the babe is not Vidya Balan. She comes much later. The baby is a 8-month old girl eventually christened Angel who does more pooh than we can go pooh-pooh over the wild improbability of Leonard Nimoy"s Three Men&A Baby working in a desi context. But Sajid Khan's comic timing in telling the story of the taming of three screws…er, male shrews, sees the tale through.
You can't fault the narrative for its brio. Sajid gives the heee-heee-heroic trio a huge leeway to raise laughter on a self-consciously casual set representing a bachelor pad. The swanky pad comes alive to the sound of a little girl bawling her head off, eating, chuckling and of course doing stinky-pooh. The rapidfire editing (Rameshwar S Bhagat) creates a series of immensely watchable vignettes taken from the life of a trio of over-libidinous slobs.
The reformation, though expected, still takes you by surprise. The crisis in the baby's life (she nearly dies when left in the rain by her callous surrogate-dads) culminates in the trio falling at her feet as a beam of light pierces the darkened room to denote their new enlightened spirit. The Muslim hero (Fardeen) even falls to his feet to recite his prayers. Manmohan Desai must be chuckling in heaven. You know Sajid Khan is out to get your attention by hook or by crook. Pulling out all stops he designs an entertainer that isn't shy of letting all the filmy emotions hang out. They, the emotions, often do. Hang out, I mean.
The treatment of the theme is brutally schwaltzy and savagely satirical. You can't miss the sharp screechy turns that the debutant director takes as he takes his boisterous threesome from smelly socks to smellier napkins and sensitive fatherhood. Yes, the conversion is more sudden and drastic than a bunch of rowdy tribals suddenly converting their religion for Church benefits. And really, the three, especially Riteish, occasionally over-do the fatherly concern.
But the swift one-liners and irreverent but innocuous gender jokes in the first-half are delightfully done. At interval point Sajid Khan brings in the lady of the show.
Vidya Balan plays a hot-tempered, impulsive capricious and stubborn single mother with a dash of uncharacteristic zest. She loses her delicate edges to sustain a portion of the brittle film that requires a whole deal of sustenance. In this, Vidya"s screen-dad is of tremendous help.
While one can think of many truly funny moments in the first-half the second -half has just one interlude that's positively hilarious. It has Fardeen Khan doing a take-off on Amitabh Bachchan in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Chupke Chupke, driving Miss Balan and her dad at snail's pace while the other two heroes swish by in various get-ups. Here, more than anyone else, Boman Irani's expressions from the back seat of the snail-paced car are to die for.
Luckily the film's pace is svelter than snail's. But no, you don"t 'die' laughing in Heyy Babyy. The gags are reined-in and often qualified by the eagerness to show an emotional underside to the feeling of all-boys' bacchanalia. The second-half where Akshay seduces the innocent-and-starry-eyed Vidya Balan as time-pass reminded me of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Jurmana where Amitabh Bachchan had played the devi Raakhee's amorous advocate.
The source references and allusions in Heyy Babyy are sly and tongue-in-cheek. When the three bacherlor-fathers are toying with a name for the baby Riteish suggests, "How about Jaan-nasheen?" to Fardeen…..Refer back to Fardeen's father Feroz"s flop film.
The flip-flop of talcum tenderness and boys' boorishness keeps you watching most of the time, though the second-half does get painfully tedious with portions sticking out like 'snore' thumbs. Sleeping on the banana-peel, or what!
But you really can't fault Sajid Khan's directorial debut for its joie de vivre. The swirl of sleek satire and the twirl of mini-skirted attire ensure that the audience never tires of this ticklish tale of three incorrigible bachelors, a headstrong babe, a charming baby and plenty of glam-decked fast-paced gup-slurp.