Tees Maar Khan, 2010

Directed by: Farah Khan

I had no intention of seeing this film and if by some chance of I happened to see it I definitely had no hope of liking it. It was over promoted, toted Katrina Kaif and just looked so, so, so terribly eye-roll inducing.

I saw it, on the release date no less, and while I am not at all going to praise it for being what it is not (e.g. fantastic) I can honestly say that I thought it was fun.

TMK has many faults, but it boasts enough redeemable characteristics that make it not a total waste of time and money.

As usual, the bad first, then the good:

I have to start with the elephant in the room: Katrina Kaif. I can’t determine whether or not she really cannot act or if she’s simply pulling one over on us and might actually be brilliant. While my bet lies firmly in the former, I still have moments of doubt. Katrina Kaif is fine to watch…when she’s dancing. Even then (while dancing) her face has this lost look like she’s watching the choreographer step-by-step, but she seems more real when she’s too busy concentrating on shaking her hips than on extracting emotions out of herself.  I do not know what compels her to be so superficial and robotic when she is delivering lines. Must she be so breathy and flighty? I am sure Katrina Kaif the person has some substance, what is the harm in giving some of that depth to your characters? And I know she very well can’t help it, but the way she speaks. DEAR HEAVENS! It is insufferable.

I did however, like her in this outfit. 
The problem very well might be based in the roles she is given. I was not too upset by her performance in Raajneeti so she very well might have potential; however, the role of Anya in TMK is just so superficial that I have problems accepting Farah Khan’s inclusion of it. Why, Farah? Why? Not that I am one to get on a soap box, but can’t there be more to a woman’s character than anticipating Nip Slips, mini skirts, vanity and hair tousling? Had Anya’s character even served the smallest purpose I could have over looked the annoying and overt objectification but the movie would neither suffer in any way, shape, or form if Anya had been written out.

There were a lot of extraneous moments in this film that could have been left out. The story would progress nicely but every half hour or so the pace would hit a huge snag. A lot of non-essential stuff was left in the film that could have been left on the cutting room floor with no harm done to the overall story line. Again, this is my inner Minimalist having an overload moment, but I just groan with scenes and story lines and characters that do not support what our attention is supposed to be focused on. If it is important enough either make it a dedicated secondary story line or make another movie. All in all I am only thinking about 2-3 minutes here or there, probably 20 minutes tops, that would have been better served hacked out and placed in the “deleted scenes” category.

The three sidekicks?
Total keepers.
This is mainly just a personal pet peeve, but I find it cheap when directors or actors knowingly poke fun at themselves. The joke about Om Shanti Om was just so… dry. Also, if you’re going to call OSO a “bad” movie in the middle of TMK, you need to check your judgement skills.

Now that I’ve had my rant let me add some joy:

First off you can’t deny Farah Khan’s style. The woman is my soul sister; she loves glitter and sequins and using enough bright colors to make an acid tripper die of bliss. Plus you’re not going to find better song pictureizations than under her command, they are such productions. The dancing? Puh-lease. No one can touch her in choreography. No one. Our Ms. Khan also has a soft spot for the melodramatic that, yes, might come off as campy and contrived but nonetheless has its own spirit and enthusiasm.

The music was good. It didn’t blow me away but it didn’t disappoint either. It was lively and entertaining and distracting enough in good cinematography to smudge out the fact that the songs appeared seemingly out of nowhere and almost at random.

Akshay Kumar is a total doll. I’ve swallowed my pride and have come to terms with the fact that I just want to be all over him all the time. Don’t ask me why, I don’t think I can tell you. He has swagger, he’s kind of absurd and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t really give a second thought towards what people think about him. Every role I’ve ever seen him in has been fully embraced and personified through him. I can never tell if he’s just being himself or actually putting on the role of the character, he’s so effortless and seamless that it is just fun to watch him.

Having said that, I also have to give justice where it is due and tell you that this is not Akshay Kumar’s film. At all. Tees Maar Khan belongs and is stolen completely by Akshaye Khanna. His character is so completely absurd and Akshaye plays it so seriously that you’re just sitting there with your mouth hanging open in giddy delight. It is worth seeing this film just to watch Akshaye. In fact I thought the movie really started picking up and coming to life when he entered the story. Take that with a grain of salt, but he really breathed life and energy into the film just when I thought I was going to have to endure  something stale.

Another +1? Sallu. Doing awkward, arms-flexed Sallu dance moves. During a qawwali. Enough said, right?

It is also nice to see Anil Kapoor dancing around in maniacal glee with his Oscar taunting Akshaye Kumar. I literally died with laughing at that. Anil is just so likable, to have crossed over into the big bad Hollywood AND still respect and honor his “roots”* is just so endearing.

TMK is a comedy and I am happy to report that the writing is sharp and quite smart. It is always so tricky getting comedy from subtitles since puns and wordplay (which from the reactions that came from the audience suggested that was the kind of comedy it was) are always lost somewhere in translation. There are enough obvious and witty moments to keep the subtitle-dependent entertained and chuckling.

My advice would be to turn off your brain and just let Tees Maar Khan happen to you, if you expect or demand greatness you’re going to be severely let down. With your brain on Auto Pilot you’ll be amused and entertained enough to enjoy the film.

Also, count the pelvic thrusts. I think there were over 100 before we were even 10 minutes into the film.

*Sup, Jenny from the Block?