Directed by: Anees Bazmee
Starring: Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Akshaye Khanna, Suneil Shetty, Paresh Rawal, Sushmita Sen and Kangana Ranaut
The things we do for celebrities. People that we will probably never get to meet in person (although I have met three members of this cast – er…) receive loyalty, affection and support that we may not even give to those who we know well. Sometimes this love is reciprocated – they give an awesome performance or a part of an amazing film that demands to be seen again and their work the subject of much discussion amongst film fans. And then they sometimes they peddle a product that is sub standard, something that one goes to see only because they believe in the star’s talent.
This was a dilemma I faced with No Problem. As a fan of Sushmita Sen and Kangana Ranaut, I was looking forward to seeing the two on screen but I am not a fan of mindless comedies – films like No Entry, Welcome, Partner and Golmaal 2 & 3 (Golmaal 1 was actually a decent film) are all films I don’t find funny and have never understood the popularity of at the box office. Still, the Sushmita fan in me declared I had to give this film a chance so after running errands all morning, I went to an afternoon screening which was half full (a realistic rather than optimistic appraisal of attendance)…
No Problem is the story of two small time crooks (Dutt and Khanna), a bumbling police officer (Kapoor), his stunning wife (Sen) and her sister (Ranaut) and a simple family man (Rawal) who all get caught up in a diamond heist that should be straightforward but of course never is…
To be fair, No Problem is an entertaining film that doesn’t outstay its welcome and moves along at a good pace and surprisingly has a story that is easy to follow and keeps to some kind of logic that a even a sceptical viewer can follow. No Problem follows a simple formula where it sets up scenes for a big joke-a-thon which pulls together several storylines together at once and of course goes for laughs and actually manages to hit its target with some strong comic performances. The weakest parts of No Problem are when the jokes rely on racism, sexism, ageism and other crude material which hamper the flow and take the film down a notch for me – if No Problem had stuck to maintaining simplicity and kept all of its jokes aspiring to some sort of intelligence, the film as a whole would have been much stronger.
Technically, the film is good, with some very nice cinematography giving the film a whimsical feel and lots of quick edits to keep the pace of the film moving. I was surprised to see in the credits an international stylist had styled Anil Kapoor and it was nice to see him decked head to toe in Burberry, with simple black, khaki and navy macs teamed with sweaters, checked shirts, skinny indigo jeans tucked into boots and tortoise shell frames. Sushmita and Kangana look amazing in some ravishing get ups with Kangana having the slight edge but Sushmita working things in her own unique style. I loved Kangana’s emerald green jumpsuit teamed with gold jewellery as well as her canary yellow high waisted shorts teamed with a chiffon grey blouse and yellow bag. I also liked her brocade white and silver sari in the Shakira song as well as her shaadi ka joda which was a salwar kameez rather than a lengha. Sushmita looks gorgeous in her jumpsuit as well as the one shouldered tops and dresses she wears. I loved her gold sequin sari and thought she is one of the few people to be able to carry it off with panache.
Performance wise, the ensemble do a good job – Sanjay Dutt is relaxed and shows good comic timing and has a very good chemistry with Akshaye Khanna, who also underplays his role and doesn’t annoy or ham up the part (like he did in Race which was embarrassing to watch). Anil Kapoor puts in a spirited effort but sometimes seems too eloquent and precise for a role like this – strangely, in the ensemble scenes, he comes across as more spontaneous and this works better. Suneil Shetty and Shakti Kapoor are used sparingly and this works to their advantage as less is definitely more here and they provide good supporting performances. Sadly, as I suspected, Sushmita and Kangana have little to do but what they do have is done well – Sush shows good comic timing and makes her character believable whilst Kangana has fun and throws herself into the role but not being given a real chance to stand out.
The star of the show is Paresh Rawal who can do this kind of film in his sleep. How he manages to reprise and make the same role feel fresh and relevant is entertaining to watch and his comic timing remains unmatched. What I also like about Rawal is the way he easily gets the audience onside and manages to garner some of the biggest laughs. I also think Rawal interacts really well with all of the cast and this works in the film’s favour as it elevates many scenes that could be irritating to above average and help the entertainment quotient.
I really thought I would hate No Problem but I was surprised that I was entertained by it. The songs are quite fun and though they hamper the flow of the film, they do add a fun value to the film and for those who like to watch these kind of films again and again, will encourage repeat viewing. However, I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to see No Problem – this is one I would haven’t minded catching on DVD or telecast or better yet, a film which one would see when your first choice of film isn’t available at the cinema.
I do hope this does well at the box office though – as a Sushmita fan as I feel she is a hugely underrated actress who deserves a better break and as we rarely see her on screen these days (her last outing was in Dulha Mil Gaya in January 2010) it would be nice to see her in more films and films that are not in the comedy genre. Having said that, as a true fan, I would watch her in anything and eagerly await her next film – the things we do for celebrities…