Indra Kumarīs sex comedy "Masti" may seem like a breath of fresh air to those who are sick of the serious films that have been releasing in the last few weeks. One would be tempted to lap up any fun film after a prolonged drought of decent Bollywood cinema. But the question is whether "Masti" is actually a very good film. Iīll have to shake my head sideways in response to that question. The movie tries so hard to be very entertaining and in doing so, misses the mark entirely.
The plot is interesting and has a lot of potential for comedy. Prem (Aftaab Shivdasani), Meet (Vivek Oberoi) and Amar (Ritesh Deshmukh) are three very close buddies who have come to the end of their college days and are settling down in new 9 to 5 jobs. The next step for them is marriage. Their views on marriage is made clear in the first song, "Ek Kunwara Phir Gaya Maara", where Meet and Prem make fun of Amarīs impending marriage. Later, Meet and Prem also meet the same fate and have to put up with their annoying wives. Fed-up of the restrictions imposed on their freedom, Prem suggests that all three of them should have a bit of fun and have affairs with other women.
In comes Monica (Lara Dutta) who has a fling with Meet... And also the other two guys too. Apparently, she was lurking about somewhere listening to the guysī plan to have affairs. Then she devised this elaborate set-up to snare all the three of them into one net. Monica must have worked very hard to find information regarding their names and where they all live! Obviously, she is a blackmailer and the sex-starved men have to somehow come up with the cash. Unfortunately, something else happens to get the three monkeys into further trouble and this brings in the police. Cue Sikander (Ajay Devgan- "I hate crime! And I hate committers!"), a persistent and firm officer who is going to get to the bottom of the case and punish the criminals once and for all. Much to the monkeysī dismay.
Indra Kumarīs films are never subdued or subtle. There is always too much of everything. This can be seen in his past films especially "Dil", "Raja" and "Ishq". The first half is often loud comedy, which in turn, paves the way for the melodramatic and overly mawkish second half. The same can be said of "Masti". It tries far too hard to be funny. Comic situations are forced into here, there and everywhere. Improbable situations are created in the plot just to pass the time. The difference between this one and Kumarīs past endeavours is that the film does not lapse into melodrama post-interval (though there is a little moralizing about marriage). Given that it is marketed as a sex comedy, some of the gags are fine and do make you chuckle (like the way a certain character discovers that he has been flirting with a transsexual). The comedy eventually keels over into overkill mode. The gay jokes (inspired by "Kal Ho Naa Ho") go on and on. Having one humorous situation based on that is fine but why do the films insist on including it as a running joke? It only becomes less amusing each time it is repeated. And yep, they once again include Satish Shah. Maybe he has it written into his contract that he will act in all films with gags on homosexuality.
I have not seen any of Ritesh Deshmukhīs previous films but I was surprised to find him quite likeable here. With his comic expressions and on-screen confidence, he shows quite a bit of promise as an actor. In my view, out of all the three main leads, he is the only one who is adept at comedy. Aftaab Shivdasani is inconsistent and his loud hamming does get on the nerves after a while. That said, however, there are a couple of scenes where he shines. Vivek Oberoi is a disappointment. Some of the one-liners are wasted on him. Somebody should show him how to deliver comical lines with the right facial expressions. I wonder if we will see an improvement in his next comedy, "Kyun Hogaya Na!" The three female leads are Amrita Rao, Tara Sharma and Genelia. They do not have much to do but it is Amrita who leaves the biggest impact. And she is followed by Genelia. Tara may be very beautiful but her acting is often bland. It would be nice if she could make an effort to improve. Lara Dutta and Ajay Devgan have very strong special appearances (or supporting roles, rather) and their characters really do keep the plot going. Their devoted fans should definitely give this one a viewing just to see them. Archana Puran Singh is hilarious as the draconian mother-in-law.
This review would be incomplete without a special mention to Milap Zaveri for the witty one-liners in the dialogue. I do think that the screenplay (which Zaveri co-wrote with Tushar Hiranandani) could have been much better. The humor could have flowed along more naturally. "Dil Chahta Hai" was quite funny but it never forced the comedy into where it wasnīt needed. "Masti" could have been similar too but instead goes way over the top. Musically, the songs are fun to watch though Anand Raaj Anandīs score is no match for the music of Indra Kumarīs earlier films. Speaking of Indra Kumar, he directs in his typical energetic trademark style. Some people love it, some people hate it. Thereīs one thing that canīt be denied about him and that is he always goes out of his way to please his target audience with mass-pleasing scenes. "Masti" is no great shakes but you may find this movie entertaining if you decide to leave your brain at home.