Ekkees Tareekh Shubh Muhurat Review: A silly, unfunny comedy on small-town marriage norms
Ekkees Tareekh Shubh Muhurat adds to the growing clutter of flaky social dramas that milk small-town milieus to hide their glaring outdateness.
The epithet ‘collector ka baap’ (collector’s father) can cause great joy or deep embarrassment to an Indian dad, depending on the scenario. When the chips are down — that is when his unemployed son is struggling to crack his IAS exams — the title can be deployed sarcastically, lodged at the tail end of a taunt. Conversely, when that struggle finally pays off and the young lad comes up trumps, clearing his mains and doing his daddy proud, the same taunt becomes a token of pride, worn as triumphantly around the neck as an itchy ceremonial scarf.
Cast: Sanjay Mishra, Brijendra Kala
Rating: 2 stars
In the hoarsely-titled Ekkees Tareekh Shubh Muhurat, Sanjay Mishra plays one such small-town father, a hard-pressed Mathura priest who is advised to marry off his son so as to fund his daughter’s wedding. As Girdhari Lal Sharma, Mishra is suspiciously unsurprising — reworking the muted affection of his role in Masaan and serving it up with sticky dollops of situational humour. “Musibat mein comedy?” He wonders aloud in a few scenes, feigning surprise at the admixture — an amusingly self-reflexive touch for a sluggishly non-reflexive character.
Debutant director Pavan Kumar Chauhan is earnest in his attempt to mount a middle-India comedy, shooting along colourful Yamuna ghats or inside tumbledown temple-houses, but his script is overrun with so many bland jokes and unimaginative characters that he unknowingly outdoes Prakash Jha at wasting a sizable ensemble. It must stir some concern that a film featuring Brijendra Kala and Mukesh Tiwari draws maximum laugh with a line that goes… “When you gotta shampoo, why be rubbing nails?” We would have all liked it better if this film was really about hair loss.
Unexpectedly, the younger lot — Chandrachoor Rai as the collector son; Kajal Jain as his long-suffering sister — are far better than the oldies. Most entertaining is Mahesh Sharma (last seen in Dum Laga Ke Haisha) as a charming would-be groom who runs his family’s ‘heeng’ business and flirts flippantly with someone else’s would-be bride. In a curious cameo drops by Bengali sensation Kamalika Chatterjee, playing a stereotyped part but still managing to well up on cue. If only the director had chucked everything and run with the love angle between her and Mishra, hinted so ticklishly in a delirious drinking scene. Again, such a waste.
As a mainstream release, Ekkees Tareekh Shubh Muhurat adds to a growing clutter of flaky social dramas that milk small-town milieus to hide their glaring outdatedness. If the writing weren't simplistic enough, there are those prickly stock sound effects — like the one of a cassette tape rewinding and squeaking to a stop — to cue out chuckles from a sleepy audience. One could have at least cared for the commentary, about burdensome marriage norms and rampant groom kidnappings, were it not for the crudely slapstick tone that roots this film in cartoonish silliness. Once in a while, Mishra seems to have fun with his bereaved pandit mould, casually curling his sacred thread around his right ear or tugging the tuft on his head, but he's stuck in a film that's as entertaining as a morning sermon.
At least the Rohit Shetty movies let him funk up his hair.