HAWAS, MURDER and now MASTI. For the third consecutive week, the issue of extra-marital relationships hits the marquee. Yet, MASTI is different from films of its ilk.
While HAWAS and MURDER depicted adultery with seriousness, it's exactly the reverse in MASTI.
So, is MASTI based on Billy Wilder's THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH [1955; starring Tom Ewell, Marilyn Monroe]? No, it's not even remotely similar to the classic!
Indra Kumar's MASTI is a delightful and witty farce on the subject of sex. It's not the most clever, incisive or charming comedy, but it does most things well and provides value for money in those three hours.
Meet [Vivek Oberoi], Amar [Ritesh Deshmukh] and Prem [Aftab Shivdasani] are close friends who've had their share of fun when in college. But when married, they discover the hell behind the heaven, the bickering behind the bliss and the agony behind the ecstasy.
Frustrated with their marital experiences, the trio gear up to do some masti and decide that the only way to spice up their lives is to seek to excitement outside home. And then to meet and exchange notes.
They embark on their wacky and hilarious adventure where they search for forbidden fun. But before they could taste the delicious fruit of bigamy, their adventure comes to a screeching halt. A twist in the tale brings them face-to-face with Sikander [Ajay Devgan], a cop.
What could be worse - a cop suspecting their involvement in a crime or the danger of being exposed in front of their unsuspecting wives?
Indra Kumar is back to where he started. In his directorial debut DIL, the director showed a flair for light entertainers. In DIL and ISHQ later, the director and his team of writers merged light moments and dramatic portions proportionately. But in MASTI, there's no serious moment at all. It attempts to tickle your funny bone and Indra succeeds to a large extent.
Indra opens the cards at the very outset. In fact, the very first song at the start of the film says it all - 'Ek Kunwara Phir Gaya Maara'. After the initial introductions of the characters, the film gets down to business the moment the three friends decide to look beyond their wives for intimate moments.
The escapades of the three protagonists are quite hilarious, especially between Ritesh Deshmukh and Rakhi Sawant. To keep the humour going, a track similar to 'Kantaben' [KAL HO NAA HO] has also been woven in the story [Satish Shah is the 'Kantaben' here!], which is amongst the highpoints of this laughathon.
The film again gathers speed as Lara Dutta enters the scene. And the interval point takes the film to a different high altogether, with the story getting into the crime mould.
Although the post-interval portions have their share of funny and entertaining moments, the pace is erratic in this half. One expects the climax to perk up the proceedings, but the finale lets you down to an extent. The suspense/mystery factor goes out of the window the moment the mystery is solved. A better culmination was the need of the hour, not the formula-ridden end that you get to watch!
MASTI is not for those looking for logic or meaningful cinema and screenplay writers Milap Zaveri and Tushar Hiranandani make no bones about it. The film abounds in hilarious moments - most of them of the nonsensical variety - but they're a pleasure given the essence of the film.
Both Zaveri and Hiranandani deserve marks for presenting a serious issue like adultery in a new avtaar. Zaveri also deserves distinction marks for the witty one-liners [in ample doses]. In fact, the dialogues are the mainstay of the film and only add sheen to an enterprise that's already glowing thanks to the deft handling of the subject matter by the director.
Director Indra Kumar makes you realize that DIL, BETA, RAJA and ISHQ were no flash in the pan. Changing tracks after tackling highly emotional fares like MANN and RISHTEY, the director seems to be in form this time around. Comedy is a difficult emotion to capture on celluloid, but Indra has captured it all like a seasoned veteran. Also, the film looks fresh and even the scenes that the director chose to incorporate are in keeping with the times. Undoubtedly, this is amongst his finest efforts to date.
Anand Raaj Anand's music is like icing on the cake. 'Ek Kunwara', 'Chori Chori' and 'Chain Khuli Ki' are foot-tapping and come at the right point. However, 'Dil De Diya Hai' [excellently rendered by Anand Raaj Anand himself] should be trimmed since it acts as a speed breaker in the pre-climax stages. Mazhar Kamran's cinematography is first-rate.
If MASTI belongs to anyone, it's Aftab Shivdasani. Doing a Jim Carrey, Aftab is absolutely remarkable in the film, proving that his timing for comic sequences is just perfect. He endears to the viewers completely and is sure to walk away with the glory with this performance.
Ritesh Deshmukh follows next with an incredible performance. He looks the character he has been asked to portray ['Fatoo'] and the actor doesn't let you down one bit. If he showed improvement as an actor in his second film [OUT OF CONTROL], he walks five steps ahead in MASTI.
Vivek Oberoi tries hard to look the character, but is not at ease this time around. Though he does reasonably well in a few scenes, the actor in him doesn't really come across so strongly in this fare. However, there's no denying that the chemistry between the three heroes is tremendous!
Ajay Devgan comes in the post-interval portions and does well in a role that seems tailormade. Lara Dutta looks the part she has been asked to portray and she looks convincing.
Amongst the wives, Genelia is the best, followed by Amrita Rao. While Genelia looks the stern and demanding wife and is sure to be noticed, Amrita carries off the over-possessive bit well. Tara Sharma doesn't impress at all.
Satish Shah is superb. In fact, his portions are sure to bring the house down. Archana Puransingh is too good as the mother-in-law. Shahbaaz Khan is alright. Rakhi Sawant leaves a mark in a small role.
On the whole, MASTI has all it takes to appeal to the cinegoers - an impressive star cast, popular music, dollops of comedy and most importantly, sex - not in visuals, but in dialogues and gestures. All these factors combined together will prove advantageous for the film and should take it to the winning post.