Saturday, January 10, 2009

The President is Coming

Rating : 8/10
Running Time : N/A (~100 minutes)
Release Date : 9th Jan 2009
Director : Kunaal Roy Kapur; Writer : Anuvab Pal; Music : Goldspot
Starring : Konkona Sen, Ira Dubey, Satchit Puranik, Anand Tiwari, Vivek Gomber, Namit Das, Shernaz Patel, Shivani Tanksale, Imran Rasheed

Why do women fake orgasms ? Because they think we care…

A message flashes on the screen, before the movie starts, stating that the film is a documentary and that the makers do not regret its lack of credibility. However, what this message doesn’t do is prepare us for the madness that is unleashed upon us. 6 young Indians vie in a reality TV style contest for the honour to be the young Indian to shake President Bush’s hand on his visit to India.

I think it’s the surprise element that is most amazing about the film – you’re caught unawares a lot of times, most of the jokes and situations being completely unpredictable. And the surprising thing is that the characters are also built up well, we actually start to care about them and feel for them.

Anand Tiwari plays Kapil Dev, a stockbroker who wants to become more famous than his namesake, who is so obsessed about stocks that “the capital of USA ?” for him is “Dow Jones”. When impressed with another contestant, his compliment is “If you were a stock, I would buy you”. And his display during the talent show was brilliant. Vivek Gomber, “you can call me Rohit or Tom or whatever”, has lived in the USA for a short while and now runs an accent training school. Ira Dubey, daddy’s girl, runs a lipstick “5 crore empire, which she started with a 3 crore capital”. Satchit Puranik is an MBA from IIM-A, a khadi wearing social activist who teaches kids in villages using buffaloes as a blackboard. Konkona is a Bengali authoress, the coldest, most sane of the lot, or at least that’s what we think. And finally, we have Namit Das as the programmer from Bangalore, who’s seduction techniques (I’m Ramesh S. S is private) border on the insane (“lets have some late night HBO type of fun ?”)…

We also have two PR persons who are running the contest – Shernaz Patel playing an ultra-aggressive, ball-busting person while Shivani Tanksale is the sensitive person who actually does all the work.

And once the contest begins, so many skeletons tumble out of the closet that you wonder whether it was a closet or a doorway to a graveyard…

Though like I said the best ones are the surprise / lateral ones. Dharmendra’s photo, for example, turns up in a completely unexpected place. There is a statue of Bush in a gaudy sherwani, at the entrance of the embassy. And a poster adorning the contest room saying ‘Don’t hassle the hof’.

All the jokes mentioned above are truly just a sample – there’s many many more, its almost non-stop craziness. In fact, during the interval, there was an ad for a program called “Indian Pagalpanti League” on some TV channel. And I thought how apt – we’ve just seen it already !

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