If you're going to talk the talk, you better walk the walk. For a man who complains endlessly about the quality of Indian cinema, a veteran actor of over 130 films, Naseeruddin Shah seems clueless in the director's chair. Conceptually innovative, his directorial debut "Yun Hota To Kya Hota" fails due to bland storytelling and amateurish direction.
Four stories set in Mumbai are told through a parallel narrative, their protagonists all sharing a common goal of reaching the United States. A newly married woman (Konkona Sen Sharma) trying to join her husband in Los Angeles, an entertainment producer (Paresh Rawal) looking to smuggle his daughter in through a tourist visa, a cocaine snorting, heart-broken stock trader (Irrfan Khan) running from the law, and a brilliant student (Ankur Khanna) unable to let go of familial commitments to pursue higher education. As they overcome circumstantial hindrances to secure their entry into America, their paths cross in what could have been a shocking climax.
Shah however abuses the audience's patience through the build-up to this climax. Despite the excessive screen time used to set up the stories, only two of them are afforded any development. The director is so preoccupied with his climactic twist that his characters fail to sink in and remain devoid of empathy. The plot is forcefully manouvered to principally accomodate the climax, in the process, making it sadly inconsistent with character motives. While Shah scores in shockingly revealing his twist, he makes a mockery out of the climax with laughable visuals and performances.
Talented actors suffer under the baton of one of India's greatest thespians. The brilliant Irrfan Khan and Suhasini Mulay, subject to overacting, are wasted in a half-baked story. Ayesha Takia and Jimmy Shergill are unable to do much with their inconsequential roles. Inexplicable, ludicrous cameos by Rajat Kapoor, Makrand Deshpande and Ranvir Sheorey reduce them to mere extras. Fortunately Paresh Rawal, Ratna-Pathak Shah, and Konkona Sen Sharma excel in their respective roles. Ankur Khanna, last seen in "Amu" also impresses despite a poorly developed character.
One would expect Naseeruddin Shah, an industry professional with over thirty years of experience behind him, to have at least the technical basics of filmmaking nailed down. Sadly, the thespian disappoints despite his film's innovative concept, that should righfully be credited to the original writer, Uttam Gada. If only the characters were more interesting, if only more attention was paid to the film's pacing, if only more effort was put into negating basic technical flaws. As the end credits roll, one can only sigh and ask, "Yun Hota To Kya Hota"?