Bollywood review: Indo-Pak romance in ‘Total Siyappa’ lacks soul
If you’ve seen the trailers of ‘Total Siyappa’, chances are you’ve seen the fun parts, leaving the handful of us in the theatre rather disappointed over how the movie doesn’t match up to its hype.
While the peculiar case of how a block of frozen soup ends up twisting an unconventional love story might stir up an interesting plot, it ended up appearing quite disjointed and fractured on the Bollywood frame.
If anything, it exposes the story’s unoriginal storyline.
“You are Indian, and I’m Pakistani, then why did you decide to serve soup?” asks the confused hero, hinting at the writer’s obvious disregard to alter the Spanish rom-com ‘Seres Queridos’ (‘Only Human’ in English) to the Bollywood palate.
Although, I must confess, that the oversight did evoke some laughs.
That aside, the screenplay and dialogues by famed director Neeraj Pandey, who has dramatic thrillers ‘A Wednesday’ and ‘Special 26’ to his credit, lacks soul and falls (horribly) flat.
He swaps the Jewish-Palestinian link, to that of India-Pakistan origin, and relocates the girl’s boisterous family to London.
‘Total Siyappa’ has its moments, no doubt, but it lacks the finesse and spunk to make it entertaining.
Even at one-hour-and-fifty-minutes, ‘Total Siyappa’ does test our patience, and often slips into buffoonery in a lame attempt to tickle us.
That said, director E Niwas, who had worked on massive star-cast for ‘Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega’ back in 2001, does churn out quite a few laugh-out-loud moments.
And often, it’s Kirron Kher who is left to hold fort and lead her quirky Punjabi family in the mad rush to impress.
She boasts of impeccable comic timing and nails the Bollywood clichéd, loud-mouthed Punjabi mother with élan. She handles the complexities and the eccentricities with incredible sensibility. However, there are moments when she fumbles and turns into a caricature.
Even her amply talented husband, who adapts his real-life role on-screen, is left with nothing much to do apart from rolling his eyes in complete bewilderment.
That's not all. There's also a pesky five-year-old girl who insists on "playing" pregnancy, a highly volatile brother, a blinded grand-dad and a flirty sister, who refuses to return to a miserly husband.
The screenplay, in turn, favours the lovers - played by the multi-talented Pakistani musician-actor Ali Zafar and the one-movie-old Yaami Gautam.
While they are earnest in fleshing out musician Aman and TV reporter Asha’s unique love story, they are unable to justify hogging the spotlight.
Ali is often left straight-faced and perplexed, while Yaami appears rather pale and wide-eyed.
The script would’ve demanded it, but the duo lack experience nor insight to adapt their on-screen personas to play out their own strengths.
Their director, too, has left them unguided.
With so much going against ‘Total Siyappa’, we suggest you skip the ordeal completely and revisit those snappy trailers instead, because that’s where the fun lies.
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