Chashme Baddoor (2013)

Directed by: David Dhawan

Starring: Rishi Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Ali Zafar, Siddharth, Taapsee Pannu, Divyendu Sharma

All images courtesy of: http://www.glamsham.com

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I’ll be honest, I had no intention of seeing this film at any stage but after being invited to a press screening by a good friend, even if Chashme Baddoor was awful, at least I got to spend some time with my friend. As I hadn’t seen the original version on which the film is based, the fairest thing to do was to review Chashme Baddoor as a standalone film – after all, I truly believe any good film should work on its own merits rather than relying purely on a knowledge of its source material.

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However, it seems that some extra curricular knowledge is required – the entire film makes a big deal about paying homage to many different Hindi films, both well known and obscure, extending to some of Dhawan’s own films. I will admit some of the references flew over my head and most of the audience seemed bemused too. Furthermore, using this homage device occasionally is funny but quickly becomes tired, irritating, and to my mind, a rather lazy way to make a film. Similarly, there are some very good one liners and puns which are universally funny but the humour level is generally below puerile, attempting to offend as many minority groups as possible and then repeating this ad nauseum.

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This is a shame as there are some good performances to be had here. Zafar and Sharma both play their roles well, with the former playing his role with an endearing honesty whilst the latter shows excellent comic timing and dialogue delivery. I also like how Siddharth made his role very physical in its nature and exudes a manic energy level throughout. Pannu has little to do and one cannot really estimate her talent from such a bland role. Meanwhile, Rishi Kapoor looks relaxed/guilty to be phoning it in and is totally wasted whilst Anupam Kherย  seems to overact out of sheer boredom in his triple role.

Even if I had seen the original, I doubt I would have enjoyed Chashme Baddoor much. I feel if a film is going to be remade, at the very least, it needs to be relevant to its audience or reinvented entirely without losing the essence of its source material. Yes, this is a Dhawan film and one is going to get straight up masala but when there is neither plot nor characterisation, what should be two hours of entertainment quickly becomes a test of endurance. Unless you are a hardcore fan of Zafar or Siddharth, I imagine one would be better off seeking out the original and watching that. Otherwise, Chashme Baddoor is not worth your time or money and this is yet another disappointing film in what is turning into a dismal year for Hindi cinema so far.

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