Nargesh Kukunoor a director who is in a league on his own for creating the genre now known as â€śHinglishâ€ť with his low budget hit Hyberdad Blues and later the dismal follow up Rockford. Bollywood Calling is his third attempt and is arguably his best.
The film is a satire on Bollywood and revolves around Subhramanium (Om Puri) a Mumbai based film producer who dreams of making a box office smash hit. In order to do that he decides to sign ailing Hollywood B-grade star Pat (Pat Cusick). Pat is an alcoholic whose career has gone down the toilet and he has recently found out he has cancer. When his agent comes to him with an offer from Bollywood his curiosity is aroused. He meets Subhra who lets him know of the plot of the movie. Pat reluctantly agrees to do the movie and comes to India. What follows is PatÂ´s introduction into our beloved Bollywood. Pat, who is used to Hollywood professionalism is at first outraged by the casual attitude of Indian film makers, but as time passes he also gets used to it. He gets to meet his co-star, who is the filmâ€™s main hero. Manu Kapoor (Navin Nischol) is the arrogant and aging superstar; the beautiful actress is Kaajal (Perizaab Zoriban) who has never slept with an American and all the other quirky members of the unit. Very soon Pat is used to the Bollywood style of filmmaking and is mouthing dialogues such as "kutte main tujhe zinda nahin chodugna" and signing songs around trees such as "sajnee". However, just as the movie is about to finish Pat hurts Manu Kapoorâ€™s ego and cancels the shooting. Subhra is shattered and so is Pat. When the entire crew finds out that Pat has cancer due to Subhraâ€™s loud mouth, the movie makes way again. The film, Maut is released and goes onto become a super hit! Manu Kapoor gets his 80th hit, Subhramanium becomes a big time director and in the meantime Pat goes back to the US and gets chemotherapy. He is miraculously saved and decides to salvage his failing marriage too.
The story is simply perfect and makes for a great comedy and drama!! Nargesh has scripted a wonderful script that doesnÂ´t resort to mockery or loudness. The screenplay in the movie is also very well written and flows very smoothly.
Acting wise Om Puri deserves the honours as Subhramanium. He delivers a very down to earth a believable performance as Subhra. Whether it is his accent or facial expression Om Puri is beyond excellence once again proving he is a one of a kind actor. Without a doubt he is one superb comedian. Pat Cusick as the filmâ€™s main protagonist Pat does a fine job too. His reaction to the entire Bollywood industry is simply great and he plays his part very well. Navin Nischol proves he is one underrated actor. Here as Manu Kapoor he injects the right amount of arrogance that is needed in his character of a fading superstar. Perizaab Zoribaan looks simply gorgeous and performs ably too.
With this movie one can say that Nags Kukunoor is without a doubt one of the most talented filmmakers to enter the industry. With Bollywood Calling he has officially arrived. The film is technically slick something that was lacking in Hyberdad Blues and Rockford. He presents the theme of Bollywood in a very light manner, which has an instant appeal. He does not spoof the Bollywood industry and go for cheap laughs; in fact he scripts a very human and down to earth comedy that still manages to raise a lot of genuine laughs. The situations are very real and they must happen in Bollywood movies to this day, but it is the sheer stupidity of these situations and an outsiderâ€™s reaction to out beloved industry that raises the laughs.
Bollywood Calling may not have mass appeal in India since the movie is pretty much entirely in English, much like American Desi and Monsoon Wedding. The film does have a few flaws too. It starts out very slow and requires patience to get into. Also the film tends to drag a lot in the last twenty minutes and could have done with some editing.
Never the less Bollywood Calling is a superb comedy! It is a genuine and charming attempt at making a comedy about Bollywood without actually mocking it. We can clearly await Nargesh Kukunoor Three Walls for which he has signed Nasserudin Shah, Jackie Shroff and Juhi Chawla. What a step up!