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Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam

Set in the year 1993 when India witnessed a series of bomb blasts as an aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition, the spotlight is on a D-company with a difference in the small town
of St Louis in Goa.

Maan Gaye Mughall-E Azam is anything but Black Friday but it does pay a tribute to the bloody film on the blasts at the very onset. Jaaved Jaaferi does an Ameen Sayani and narrates the high points of the year 1993 — culturally and politically — setting the stage for this D-company to take centre stage.

Literally. For the D-company in question is a drama company called the Kalakar Natak Company with director Hussain at the helm, and the husband-wife duo of Paresh Rawal and Mallika Sherawat at their rib-tickling best.

Due to unforeseen circumstances — the local don (Pawan Malhotra as ‘Kayyam Cable Maut Ka Label’) and the cop (Manoj Joshi) aren’t happy with their play as it exposes their nexus — the political satire called Jaago India Jaago is forced off the stage and they have to go back to performing their old hit Mughal-E-Azam.

Rahul Bose enters as a smitten fan of Mughal-E-Azam’s Anarkali — Mallika Sherawat — giving rise to some really funny situations involving Paresh, Rahul and Mallika.

And just when you are wondering ‘what next?’, ‘will this go the way of a all-mindless caper about wife cheating husband and falling for a chikna?’ things take a surprise turn.

Things speed up keeping the interest alive with Kay Kay’s entry as Haldi Hassan, a ghazal singer. The character fashioned on Naseeruddin Shah’s Gulfam Hassan in Sarfarosh ends up like the dead municipal commissioner D’Mello played by Satish Shah to perfection in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, complete with Rahul taking the body on a stroll around the park on roller skates.

Writer-director Sanjay Chhel underlines the tribute to the Kundan Shah classic with the onstage caper of Akbar-Salim and Anarkali going completely haywire with an endearing Paresh
stealing the show as he watches Rahul stealing his wife, Mallika.

But full marks to Chhel for not overdoing it, thanks to the right doses of drama and loud but not in-your-face characters (minor correction: much of Mallika, is er, in your face!).

Without going too much into the story, let it just be said that Maan Gaye Mughall-E Azam is a fun-filled 2-hour-15 minutes caper with some good performances, great funny lines and hilarious situational comedy. If Rahul is a pleasant surprise as an unlikely funnyman so is Kay Kay (special mention: the Kay-Kay-Mallika seduction scenes). And Paresh? Hail, the king of comedy.

After Chhel’s failed ‘connection’ with the crowds last month (he had scripted Kismat Konnection), this should bring them back laughing. Maan liya!