What can we say about a comedy where the main characters get inspired watching Riteish Deshmukh’s drag act in “Apna Sapna Money Money”?
Tearing a (b)lousy chapter from that black-sheepish comedy (remember the song ‘Dekha jo tujhe yaar dil mein baji guitar?’) Javed Jaffrey and Shreyas Talpade get into desi(Talpade) and blonde (Jaffrey) drag acts, leaving you thinking when was the last time a drag act dragged its act so far-out?
To his credit, Shreyas as Karisma to Javed’s Kareena are a laugh riot in parts, whenever the oily script pauses long enough to give us a non-greasy passage of humour.
Filled with double meanings that are meaningless passwords for mindless meanderings, the main plot is about four lately unemployed men – two of whom get into a drag act to get accommodation in the home of a kindly couple (Johhny Lever and Delnaz Paul) – who are as devoid of intelligence as most of the writing in this film.
The Bangkok setting doesn’t help. Most of the way the characters clutter the canvas so much the scenic view is blocked out. Never mind.
The thing about these prevalent boys-will-have-fun comedies is that the boys seem to have all the fun while the girls just hang on to the lapels of the comedy hoping there is a life after the laughter.
Beyond the loud, lewd laughter of characters who want to convince themselves that being on the ticklish track pays, “Paying Guests” has little to offer except tired jokes about oranges and other suggestive props that, alas, cannot prop up the creaking sagging props.
In the plus side, Javed and Shreyas are perky in their drag act. Shreyas, who has been in fine comic form recently in the wonderful “Welcome To Sajjanpur” and the far(ce)-from-wonderful “Gol Maal Returns”, provides a sparkling wit to the proceedings often going beyond the sweltering standards set by the stale satire.
Shreyas deserves better. The other actors are in-sync with the sinking feeling of the comedy. As is the custom in these air-headed comedies, the canvas is crowded with clamorous characters dressed in an assorted variety of skin-tight clothes and loose wigs that come off at the whoosh of the wind in this wimpy comedy.
The climax air-lifted from Kundan Shah’s “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” has all the 37(or is it 38?) characters, including a fierce don played by the almost-forgotten Inder Kumar who just can’t get beyond the scowl, colliding all over a staging of “Mughal-e-Azam”.
Moan gaye Mughal-e-Azam.
The dialogues (Lawrence John) plumb such depths of toilet graffiti as “I hope we don’t blow this job”.
The makers of this wunder-kid-me-not haven’t quite blown the job. This prolonged drag act about two men dressed as Karisma and Kareena manages to remain inoffensive for a while. But the Kapoor sisters have nothing to feel flattered about.