Starring: Ali Zafar, Yami Gautam, Kirron Kher, Anupam Kher, Sara Khan.
Director: E. Niwas
There have been many films tackling the story of lovers torn across borders in Bollywood. Total Siyappa is one of the first mainstream Bollywood film to take a light hearted look at the issue. It definitely has its moments but ultimately fails to impress.
Total Siyappa at first glance looks like it has everything going for it. It boasts of a riveting concept of India-Pakistan rivalry and the introduction to the mad family in the first 20 minutes promises for a mad and whacky ride ahead.
Unfortunately, the novelty of the film ends right there. The rivalry theme had a lot of promise for some insightful fun if explored more intrinsically but it is limited to being more of a decoration and the focus shifts to more of situational comedy which for the most parts does not work.
One simply expects more from a film when it is accredited to a writer of Neeraj Pandey's caliber.
Undoubtedly, his intentions are noble but he fails to take the film to another level after brilliantly setting up the first act. Barring an extraordinary sequence between Yami and Zafar towards the climax Neeraj doesn't really exploit the potential of comedy in the cross border relations and lets it go to waste.
Otherwise also the plot does not really work. Most of the sequences lack authenticity and look forced into the plot to create farce humor. There are definitely some enjoyable moments but they are too few and far between and lose their impact in the stretched tale.
E. Niwas showed flair for comedy in the very likable Love ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega. This time around he keeps the going on very British which is nicely restrained and subtle even in all the madness. His treatment would have worked beautifully if he had a solid screenplay to back him up. Yet, he gives the film a fresh look and handles his cast well. His handling of a few sequences namely the one with Zafar and the grandfather in the bathroom and most scenes with Zafar and Kirron Kher together are commendable.
Ali Zafar has a tremendous comic timing and fits perfectly into the role. He gives an earnest and likable performance and gives a lot of credibility to a very confused character. Yami Gautam has nothing much to do but looks pretty and does well in the few sequences which do require her to deliver.
Kirron Kher is the lifeline of the film. She is a bit too loud in a few scenes but perhaps the character demands it. The veteran actor is a delight to watch and infuses the much needed energy into the proceedings. Her scenes with Ali Zafar save the film from total boredom. Another actor who impresses is Sara Khan putting up a confident act.
It's a shame to see an amazing actor like Anupam Kher wasted in such a poorly written role. His track looks contrived and is one of the prime examples of the film's unsuccessful attempt at comedy.
Total Siyappa could have been a lot more than what it is. It had a terrific cast, a promising director and a plot with tremendous potential yet it feels like an opportunity terribly squandered as the end credits roll.