201369 Taran Adarsh

Oops? Review by Taran Adarsh

1.5

When you saunter into a theatre screening OOPS!, you expect to watch a sex comedy. But OOPS! is not a sex-laden teen comedy as being projected, but also delves into relationships and the loneliness/frustrations of an ageing woman.

Most importantly, OOPS! [heavily inspired from the Jacqueline Bisset flick CLASS, with a little of THE FULL MONTY thrown in!] sheds light on the life of male strippers, an issue that has been witnessed only once before in Hindi films [BOMBAY BOYS], but not at length, like it's done in OOPS!.

Jahaan [Kiran Janjani], Aakash [Vikas Sethi] and Nikki [Adyasha] share a passion � dancing � and take up the profession as background dancers in films. Jahaan is a lower middle class guy living with his dipsomaniac father and aspires to be rich and powerful. Aakash is a rich heir and a dancer by choice. Nikki is a middle class girl in love with Jahaan, but is not sure about the way Jahaan's fundas of life work.

The three are busy performing as dancers in films and corporate shows till a very lucrative proposal comes their way from a film star � Sonia [Mink Singh]. She invites Jahaan to perform a strip show. Yearning to be rich and not wither out as a mere dancer, Jahaan instantly takes up the offer to be a male stripper. After a little cajoling, Aakash agrees to accompany Jahaan and both perform their first-ever strip show despite Nikki's discomfort.

Aakash opts out of doing more strip shows, Nikki is disillusioned by the way Jahaan has started behaving and Jahaan is crazily in love with his image as a casanova.

And this is where the journey to stardom begins for Jahaan� In his want and greed to be with the people of power and position in society, Jahaan and the rest land up in a situation which is OOPS!.

The one department OOPS! scores in is the issue that it tackles � Male strippers. In that respect, the film has enough 'masala' to shock the sensibilities of an orthodox Indian viewer, who may have read about male strippers, but may not have seen their lives minutely. And if the subject-base of the film is stripping, then sex, lust and a lot of skin show follow obviously. That's precisely what the first half of OOPS! offers.

In fact, the first half has several interesting moments. The reasons that prompt the protagonist to take to male stripping looks justified. The first strip act has been well choreographed and offers eroticism aplenty. It is more likely to appeal to the youth, leaving them astonished.

The best part is that the story is very convincing right through the first half and with the introduction of Mita Vashisht's character, the goings-on get all the more interesting. The interval point is the best part of the enterprise and the twist in the tale is sure to prove a shocker.

If the first half has its share of poignant moments, the second half takes a different route altogether � emotions. Showing the stripper fall in love with the socialite gives the story a new dimension, which adds to the drama.

The film reaches its zenith when the friends confront the stripper at the hotel and the true identity of the stripper's lover is revealed, but the portions thereafter are not as gripping as one would've expected them to be.

The last half-an-hour focusses on the emotional side and justifications of various acts and deeds, which takes the fizz away from the film. The sermonizing bit towards the end makes the film talk-heavy and the viewer restless. In fact, when the goings-on get serious, the movie tumbles like a house of cards, degenerating into plain old dull melodrama. The ending is even lamer, showing signs that the writer simply ran out of ideas. It is as if a speeding car had suddenly encountered speed breakers.

Director Deepak Tijori needs to be complimented for opting for a bold theme for his debut film, but as a writer, he should've given the story a proper culmination. The climax is the weakest link of the film and even otherwise, the pace drops alarmingly, with the goings-on moving at a languid/lethargic pace.

Music [Ravi Pawar] is quite tuneful. Unfortunately, the non-promotion of songs is another area where the film suffers. Cinematography [Thomas Xavier] is first-rate. The choreography of the songs deserves special mention. The choreography of the strip show also deserves full marks.

Both Kiran Janjani and Vikas Sethi do quite well in their debuts, delivering committed and believable performances. Kiran handles the delicate emotional scenes with care and excels in dances. Vikas is yet another newcomer to watch. Camera-friendly and a bundle of talent, the youngster is at ease in most sequences.

Adyasha does very well, although the spotlight is on the two lead boys all the while. Mita Vashisht is brilliant in a role that could've been essayed only by a seasoned performer. Her work is bound to win her tremendous acclaim. Mink is superb in a small, but significant role. Kiran Kumar is just alright. Ali G. supports well.

On the whole, OOPS! has a novel theme and sex as its USP. However, the subject being alien for the Indian masses, would restrict its appeal to the urban youth primarily. At the box-office, the film should generate some curiosity in metros mainly, but a long run seems unlikely.

Oops? 1.5 Taran Adarsh 20030731