I am not going to do any sort of gimmicky GIF magic to state how awful this movie is. Neither am I going to create smart lined Facebook memes for this one. This review of Action Replayy is going to be a full on verbal bashing in the very old school way of ‘gaaligaloch’. So for the overtly sensitive and the easily offended – stay the fuck out of this. For the rest who are still reading, thank you and I hope that you can relate to my utter frustration and disappointment at Vipul Amrutlal Shah’s abomination aka ‘Action Replayy’. Point to be noted – funny spellings of movie titles which are numerologically manipulated by the likes of Sunita Melon and Bejaan Pantiwallah do not always ensure success. Actually, they never do. And I hope these numerologists change their names to the ones I just suggested.
To begin with – the Director.
Vipul Amrutlal Shah’s filmography boasts of a smart thriller (Aankhen), a dumbed down comedy which works (Waqt), and an NRI movie which I found was above average (Namastey London). And then London Dreams happened. This was where 40 something uncles put on facelift cream, wore earrings, and sang Hindi pop songs and Hanuman Chalisa touring Europe to packed stadiums. There was a lady who believed in her cheerleading career, and well – if you want to know what I felt about the movie, you can read this.
When I got hold of the first publicity pictures of Action Replayy, it got me super excited for reasons more than one. Firstly, it was set in a retro era of Bollywood which I love the most. I had consciously kept myself distant from the music trailers and any of the movie’s plot details.But I couldn’t escape people discussing about how this was adapted from a Gujrati play, which is a shameless rip off from Back To The Future. All of these factors left me bamboozled, and I really did not know what to expect. The dude in the director’s chair is no stranger to the whole Bolywood blockbuster routine. How wrong was I? Only if the movie was half as good as the posters.
The effervescence and element of enjoyment required for a wink wink retro movie is just not there. The movie begins with Bunty showing fear of marriage because his parents have a miserable marital relationship. Bunty’s girlfriend Tanya has a genius grandad (Randhir Kapoor in a dwarfed cameo, quite conveniently named Anthony Gonsalves) who has built a time machine. Bunty devices a plan to fix the troubled marriage of his parents and outsmarts the scientist to go back in the past. And so we begin, the biggest annoying marathon ever to be witnessed in Indian cinema. If you thought London Dreams was appalling, Action Replayy takes it to a whole new dimension of duisgusting. I’d better list down my list of annoyances.
Bunty’s parents – Kishan/Kitchen Kumar (Akshay, more like Yuckshay) and Mala (Aishwarya Rai) are shown as their grown up selves after a 20 years of marriage. So, considering they are like 30s (at the most) when they got married, what the fuck did they smoke to end up looking like that. Or did the makeup guy turn up high on some drug? These people (all of them) have the most horrendous makeup in the history of Bollywood – and this includes all the Ramsay movies. As Raja Sen rightly pointed out, the old versions seem to have faces made of leather. And Aish couldn’t have been made to look bad, so she has some grey streaks to indicate her age.
The dialogues are so dull and have no amount of humour stuck on it. For a light hearted , masala movie, the dialogue seems like to have been written by someone who wasn’t paid to do his job. e.g. Bunty meets Anthony Gonsalves for the first time and says – Do all scientists get their haircut in the same salon? Ha Ha Bloody Ha! The whole Bunty giving his Dad sex ed made me squirm so hard.
The ensemble cast is completely bollocks.
- Om Puri as Akshay’s father has only one line throughout the movie – Gadha.
- Kirron Kher is a chorus singer at All India Radio, and is against love marriage. And most importantly, she is a born bully.
- Rajpal Yadav is neither funny, nor existent. His only line – Sab Kaam Main Hi Karoo was unnecessary, unwanted and useless.
- Ranvijay as the antagonist cool disco dancing dude who can sing in Male and Female voices is a wasted opportunity. He bullies the ‘to-be-Hero’ and could have been written much more smartly. There are definite shades of Biff here, but all of that is lost in stupid gags of taking off Pyjama and shirts and loathsome 70’s wigs.
Why do we love Back to the Future? Because even with its silly logic of time travel enabled by the Flux Capacitor generating 1.2 gigawatts and requiring the Delorean at 88 miles per hour, we were easily made to believe in it by the awesome Doc. There is no such scifi detail here and no one gives a single fuck about it. The character of Doc in BTTF, is here translated to Anthony Gonsalves being portrayed by Radhir Kapoor in a cheapo wig with a ponytail. He starts speaking of the sense of vision due to light being reflected to us from objects. Some of these objects, like Alpha Centauri, are light years away, so the image we see is actually a few years old. Good point. And….?? And then Tanya rambles on about the importance of marriage. Sab SciFi ka chaupat!!!
Bunty – VJ Aditya , who’s only contribution in this whole movie is that afro. No, he’s got more. He’s wearing geeky tees sporting Master Yoda and what not. He’s matchmaking his bunny-toothed Dad with the cynical street kaminee Mala. He is playing Guru Vidyapathi to his Besura Bhola Dad by playbacking his songs. And you know what, he is quite conveniently allowed to mingle with by these people, who were strangers just an hour ago. You get the point? Were people in the 70’s this easy?
Speaking of 70’s Bombay – is it only meant to be Victoria Terminus station? The streets are wide and empty, and every girl on the street is dressed in a tight kurti aping the fashion of Leena Chandavarkar. And the dudes have Rajesh Khanna hair, Bell Bottoms and Polka dotted shirts. The cinemas are then showing Julie and the canteens are playing Aap Ki Kasam. Seems like some one was IMDbing. This is definitely not a low budget work – you can tell by the colours leaping out of each frame. Looks like a unicorn vomitted double rainbows all over the movie. And oh, just so that you should credit the research team, Bunty keeps mentioning various 70’s related trivia deliberately – such as the Emergency and Sholay. Ha!
Finally, since it’s a musical comedy set in the 70’s, the music should be awesome, innit? You couldn’t be more wrong. Pritam sounds very uninspired and this could be one of his laziest work. The whole ‘competition’ segment (which seems like a nod to Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahi) is so rubbish and so third class. I don’t have anything positive to say about this movie. Oh may be just one thing. Aishwarya Rai playing her mean self is spot on. Maybe for the first time, she has found her niche.
Avoid this like the plague. If you are expecting a Diwali blockbuster, I’d rather suggest you to watch Om Shanti Om again which was a riot of colours, and whole lotta awesomeness. This movie is such a wasted opportunity and one can only hope that this was made by Farah Khan.