Lost in Screen Translation

What The Fish seems promising: Dimple Kapadia in a lead role,surrounded by such solid Delhi staples as Manu Rishi and Manjot Singh.

Published:December 14, 2013 3:37 am

What The Fish

DIRECTOR: Gurmmeet Singh

CAST: Dimple Kapadia,Manu Rishi,Anand Tiwari,Manjot Singh,Vishal Sharma,Deepti Pujari

*1/2

Middle-aged harridan returns to her house in Delhi after a month’s absence. She opens a door and a white-robed,wild-haired banshee flies out,slamming the returnee to the floor. What’s going on? Who is this mysterious creature?

Going in,What The Fish seems promising: Dimple Kapadia in a lead role,surrounded by such solid Delhi staples as Manu Rishi and Manjot Singh,and a story revolving around a locked house,a flashy fish and a money plant . How bad can it be? Pretty darn awful,as it turns out,and that becomes apparent almost as soon as the film opens.

Sudha Mishra (Kapadia) gets into a taxi at the Delhi International airport and starts complaining. She’s meant to be shrill and annoying. And that’s what she is,relentlessly,through the film. Her instructions to her niece and the boyfriend (the niece’s) were to feed the fish and water the plant. Which are relayed to a series of house-sitters who flit in and out as the film slouches on,slack and repetitive.

First dibs on the house are made by a runaway couple,played by the earnest Anand Tiwari and his wide-eyed lady love. Then comes a property agent on the make (Rishi). A couple of Jat cops show up. As well as a cross-dressing boxer (Sharma),a fish-shop owner ( Singh),and a bunch of others who come and go. Every few minutes,we see the screechy Mrs Sharma being flung to the ground,and every few minutes the flashback starts again.

This is yet another in the line of the ‘Quirky Delhi Film’,a genre that has long run out of steam. The novelty lasts for a few minutes. After which it’s all downhill. Kapadia is completely capable of carrying a film on her own: remember Leela,in which she is a credible middle-aged woman in search of herself? Here,she’s a sad caricature of a loud Dilli aunty,and she’s all wrongly played for the part. Rishi and Singh try to grab a few moments but are wasted.

The boxer’s subplot,with a north-eastern female boxer,her Haryanvi lover,and a Kathak-dancing beefy fellow,seems like it’s coming from somewhere. Done with some bite,it could have added something to the film. But What The Fish seems like it’s been made on paper,and lost in screen translation. It ends,and you end up by mouthing the acronym which matches the title.

Shubhra Gupta

shubhra.gupta@expressindia.com

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