Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Anubhav Singh Bassi
Director: Luv Ranjan
Rating: One and a half stars (out of 5)
Talk, not surprisingly, is dirt cheap in Luv Ranjan’s Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar. The characters are in love with their own voices (the louder the better). They go yackety-yak at the slightest provocation. They are allowed little breathing space between one long-winded monologue and the next. More farce than comedy, more chaos than caprice, more dalliance than romance – that is what Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar, Bollywood’s Holi and International Women’s Day release, adds up to if one has the energy to tot up the film’s unending convolutions and contortions.
Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar starts off as a cut-price Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobaara. It ends up in Rajshri Films and Dharma Productions terrain. The film seeks to make up with mounds of verbiage what it lacks in terms of depth.It is quite a while before the male protagonist, played with misplaced zeal by Ranbir Kapoor, begins to see the sheer futility of it all. Bina baat ke saara drama hua, he wonders aloud. He is bang on. Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar is indeed a case of much hollow hullabaloo about absolutely nothing.
If director and co-screenwriter Luv Ranjan’s intention is to show us how muddled modern relationships can turn out to be when the heart collides with the mind, his film achieves that end with some effort to spare. This unabashed blabber-fest is as massive a muddle as any life can be.
Ranbir Kapoor, embodying what feels like an amalgamation of his characters in Anjaana Anjaani,Tamasha and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, possesses the skill to cash in on the rare silences that punctuate his incessant prattle. However, such moments are few and far between. Moreover, the actor’s chemistry with equally enthusiastic co-star Shraddha Kapoor is strictly serviceable. Try as hard as they may, they are unable to breathe life into a love story that has more knots than is good for it.
Romping on the beaches of Spain before more serious matters catch up with them and throw their whirlwind love affair into disarray, the leads appear to be having a great deal of fun even as the film tends to forget that the audience might also need a story that is more than just skin deep. The limited appeal of a handsome hero without a shirt and a comely heroine in a two-piece bikini falling over each other wears off quickly.
The script by Rahul Mody and Luv Ranjan is aimed at making amends for the shockingly sexist rom-coms that the director has habitually been foisting upon us. In Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar, love at first sight does not translate into the girl losing sight of her own goals and subjugating herself to the man in her life. But that isn’t expiation enough – the heroine isn’t spared the indignity of being constantly objectified until about the film’s halfway mark.
The boy is the supplicant here. He is head over heels in love and pleading for reciprocation. When he goes out with his beloved, his entire family tags along without so much as a by-your-leave. For the heroine, a lady who values her space more than anything else in the world, that is a crowd best avoided. She needed a better film than this to articulate her concerns and aspirations.
Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar mocks established notions of dating and romance and examines the consequences of a clash between family and freedom, between casual fling and lifelong fidelity, between a girl who is done with living under the same roof with her extended brood and a boy for whom filial bonds matter as much as love does. The film whips up a lot of froth in the bargain.
When he isn’t taking care of his family’s car dealership, Rohan Mickey Arora (Ranbir Kapoor) runs a “break-up” service in collaboration with best pal Mannu Dabas (stand-up comedian Anubhav Singh Bassi in his acting debut). With an enviable strike rate, the two pals help young couples end their relationships, guilt-free and sans heartburns.
On a trip to Spain for Mannu’s bachelor party, Mickey falls in love at first sight with Nisha Tinni Malhotra (Shraddha Kapoor), who is there for her best friend Kinchi (Monica Chaudhary), the girl Mannu is set to begrudgingly marry. Confusion ensues as Mickey labours to figure out whether Tinni is in it for the long haul or for only a quick, non-committal affair.
Before the guy can say I love you with any degree of conviction, the prospect of a break-up begins to loom over the relationship. Mickey is in a bind – he is hired by Tinni to get himself off her back. More confusion, more prattle, more hemming and hawing – Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar goes on and on until a climactic free-for-all at the Delhi airport injects a dose of passable hilarity into the film.
Mickey’s Delhi Punjabi family is, you’ve guessed it, a cantankerous bunch. His mother (Dimple Kapadia) is a slap-happy lady who frets and fumes over the losses that the family business has suffered. His father (Boney Kapoor) has next to no say in anything that transpires in the household except when he is gripped by a desire to rustle up a meal for the family.
Mickey’s elder sister (Hasleen Kaur), his precocious niece (Inayat Verma) and his garrulous granny (Jatinder Kaur) add to the cacophony that surrounds him. Mickey loves them all.
The story is completely different in Tinni’s case. Her family of chartered accountants is comparatively sedate, but the girl has chosen to drift away in order to guard her independence. More than a battle of the sexes,Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar is an all-out war between two worldviews.
The first half of the film is a disorienting blur. The second is far less so. Post-interval,Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar carves out two random, unfunny cameos for Luv Ranjan’s favourite lead pair, Kartik Aaryan and Nushratt Bharuccha. They appear separately as testing tools, one to arouse jealousy in the hero, the other to assess his loyalty.
Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar alternates between outright baloney and billowy bluster as a 30-year-old man and a 27-year-old girl make heavy weather of a relationship that begins on a torrid note and ends in unbridled puerility.
It isn’t just that the actors talk nineteen to the dozen. They holler and hector without let. Even Dimple Kapadia as a meddlesome matron is compelled to demonstrate her lung power to the fullest. Ranbir Kapoor, when can shake off the all-pervasive frivolity, is the sole saving grace of a movie that is more vacuous chatter than genuine matter.
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