Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 28th September, 2012
Time : 140 minutes
Director : Umesh Shukla; Writer :Umesh Shukla, Bhavesh Mandalia based on the latter’s Gujarati play ‘Kanji Viruddh Kanji’; Music : Himesh Reshammiya
Starring : Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar, Govind Namdeo, Mithun Chakraborty, Poonam Jhawer, Mahesh Manjrekar, Om Puri, Murli Sharma
The story is very simple. Paresh Rawal, a shopkeeper, loses his shop in an earthquake, and when the insurance company refuses to pay quoting it as an ’Act of God’, given his delicate financial situation, Paresh is left with no option but to file a legal case against God. And then pandemonium erupts…
Paresh is shown as a typical Gujarati businessman, who owns a shop that sells idols of various Gods. He is the type who will happily prey on the insecurities of others, selling tap water as Gangajal. Or pretending a certain statue is a rare, one of a kind piece from Vrindavan to get a higher price etc. Or spreading a rumour about Krishan just to keep his son from doing the Handi. He is an atheist, in a family or society, which is full of very openly devout people, the kind who ‘show-off’ their devotion by participating in all sorts of religious rituals, teerth yatra’s etc. He is a smart, savvy, logical fellow with a sense of humour. When he argues in court or appears on TV, he comes across as a very simple person, who converts his audience to his intuitive points. His responses, his logic when questioned by the opposing lawyer or the media, strike home and make an impact.
There are several moments, big and small through the film, which are very funny. Paresh’s answer, quoting Reliance electricity, while replying to why he doesn’t directly talk to God is brilliant. The various rituals, the knowledge of the Gita, the different scams run by Godmen, even hunger strikes, none of these are spared.
The cameos by various accomplished artistes – Gobind Namdeo (an angry Sadhu), Mithun (a delightful role as a slightly effeminate Godman), Om Puri (a lawyer), all add to the fun. Akshay’s appearance, as God, Krishan Bhagwan, is also extremely well handled, quite good fun. I found the film thought-provoking and in a country like ours, full of blind faith, a necessary mirror of how we behave, choosing to find God in stones, temples and Sadhu’s instead of in our fellow human beings.
I’m being a bit generous with the rating simply because I applaud the objective behind the film, the courage of its producers and also the way they’ve executed it. Crisp editing, very little preachiness and generous dollops of humour ensure that an otherwise heavy topic, passes by very easily with the message getting through.