Planet Bollywood
Producer: Venus
Director: Priyadarshan
Starring: Akshaye Khanna, Aftab Shivdasani, Paresh Rawal, Rimi Sen, Shoma Anand, Tiku Talsania, Rajpal Yadav, Shakti Kapoor, Sanjay Narvekar & Upasna Singh
Music: Nadeem - Shravan
Lyrics: Sameer
Genre: Comedy
Recommended Audience: Adult
Approximate Running Time: 2 hrs 35 mins
Film Released on: 01 August 2003
Reviewed by: M. Ali Ikram  - Rating: 7.5 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.13 / 10 (rated by 412 viewers)
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Yeh kya ho raha hai? No, not last year┬┤s muddled flick of the same name, "yeh" kya ho raha hai? If the raptor rampant-like character and plot introductions in the first thirty minutes of Priyadarshan┬┤s Hungama don┬┤t have you scratching your head, maha-kudos to you. That time span of Priyan┬┤s newest comedy are matter of factly confusing, and boring. But with introductions out of the way, the flick finally kicks in to gear and it will have you laughing aplenty until it ends.

Yes, the director┬┤s story-writing skills are a bit riotous. To try and explain the tale in a paragraph would be challenging for any human being, let alone Super Critic. Let us just say it is a soap opera-like mish-mash of plenty of movies we┬┤ve seen before. You want two guys after the same gal, you┬┤ve got it. You want mistaken identities, you┬┤ve got it. You want rich girl loves poor boy, you┬┤ve got it. You want deception and betrayal, you┬┤ve got it. You even want Beverly Hillbillies, you┬┤ve got it. Saabji aur membsaab, jo bhi chaahiye, you┬┤ve got it. And luckily, once you finally sort out what┬┤s going on, you┬┤ll enjoy it more than all the Govinda and David Dhawan comedies we have been enduring of late.

You see, the been-there-seen-that storylines, when superimposed upon one another, come across as quite novel. Priyadarshan knows that if he can confuse and amuse us long enough, we probably won┬┤t know the difference. That, after all, was Shakespeare┬┤s formula centuries ago.

Our laughter, of course, is courtesy Neeraj Vohra┬┤s often rib-tickling dialogue. Add to it the super-combo of Priyadarshan and Paresh Rawal together (a la Hera Pheri and tiny bits of Yeh Teraa Ghar Yeh Meraa Ghar), and you┬┤ve got a recipe for success. But there had to be something different and better for the duo┬┤s third collaboration together, right? Exactly! So director-sab added Shoma Anand (aka the evil bahu from 1980s┬┤ family flicks) as the... uhm... better half (!?!?!) of Mr. Rawal┬┤s village based billionaire. Each time the constantly quibbling and pseudo intellectual Tiwari couple interact on-screen, you are guaranteed a laugh, or two, or ten. They┬┤ve got great chemistry, and you can see each trying to outdo the other throughout the movie.

Where does that leave the rest of the cast, you ask? To be honest? Nowhere really. Akshaye, Aftab and newcomer Rimi Sen are all great in their respective parts, but compared to the Tiwari duo, their characters are about as appealing as fungi between your toe nails. (Ms. Sen, though, might go far if she plays her cards right, cause she┬┤s a good-looker with great dancing skills.) The love triangle trio and the rest of the supporting cast is all up to the challenge of making us laugh, but who cares about the side dishes when the main course is so deliciously funny.

Compared to the Shoma and Paresh sub-plot, almost everything else is drab. Nadeem-Shravan┬┤s soundtrack was poor enough to begin with, and not surprisingly, it results in the most unexciting videos I have ever seen in a Priyadarshan movie. (That┬┤s a major shocker for a man who has displayed unwavering panache in his film song videos in the past. Remember the brilliant vibrance of Saat Rang Ke Sapne┬┤s desert dances or the fairy tale-based Doli Sajaa Ke Rakhna ditties?) These dull songs come at unexpected intervals, and thankfully always end quickly.

Camera-work and editing are decent, but by no means extraordinary. And the background score is muted and poor. But you or I won┬┤t care.

If you want to see a good masala mind-bender these lazy hazy days of summer, Hungama is a safe bet. Though not in the riotous league of comedy classics, you will enjoy it. For an industry that has not produced a full throttle laugh-riot in ages, at least this one is "fun". "Fun limited" though, not "unlimited".

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