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Sub-Continental Love Story

Total Siyappa could have been hilarious. But all it does is drag its feet through unfunny, stretched situations.

Written by Shubhra Gupta |
March 8, 2014 2:51:29 am

Movie: Total SiyapAa
Director: E Niwas
Cast: Ali Zafar, Yami Gautam, Kirron Kher, Sara Khan, Anupam Kher, V M Badola

Did this film start thinking it would be a smart riff on “Aman Ki Asha”, a media-floated idea of amity between India and Pakistan? Because that’s how it begins, with the Pakistani Aman (Zafar) being led in for a moonh-dikhai to the house of the Indian bride Aisha’s home (Gautam), in London.

This is the same director who gave us such different films as Shool and the underrated Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega, and you would think some of that surety would be transferred to this new venture. But this one is a mess, and worse, it is dull.

Aisha’s Indian family comprises an irrepressible Punjabi mom (Kher), who says “phittey moonh”, and “hai, hai siyapaa” at regular intervals just in case we forget which film we are in. An older sister (Khan), living apart from her kanjoos husband, with her moppet who is part cute part annoying. A younger brother with a thing against “Pakis”. A grandfather (Badola) who lies in bed and plays with knives, and a largely absent father (Kher), who pops up finally in the strangest places, including a hooker’s van.

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This could have been hilarious. But all it does is drag its feet through unfunny, stretched situations. Zafar’s only job is to look befuddled, which he manages quite well. Gautam belies the promise she had held out in her debut Vicky Donor. The only watchable people in the film are Kirron Kher, who can probably do this role with her eyes closed but still ingests zest in it, and Sara Khan, who has a nice, wicked edge to the badi behen part. A spat between the sub-continental lovers, which involves a rueful and finally funny mention of Shahid Afridi is nice, but it takes up only about five minutes in the 108-minute film.

Poor Anupam Kher, getting to play opposite his real-life wife as reel spouse, comes off so embarrassingly, he should wipe this film off his list: I would, if I were made to wander about London in my long johns in a daze.

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