Inspired by Mel Smith's HIGH HEELS AND LOW LIFES [2001; Minnie Driver, Mary McCormack], Manisha Koirala's PAISA VASOOL, directed by Srinivas Bhashyam, is a dreary fare, which will have you forget scenes even before they've concluded.
It does make you giggle at times and does boast of a few well-put-together sequences, but does that qualify for an exhilarating comedy?
Not at all!
Baby [Sushmita Sen] migrates from Delhi to Mumbai for her sheer desire of becoming a big-time actress. But height plays a major deterrent, confining her acting career only to item numbers and music videos.
Maria [Manisha Koirala] flees from her cruel cop-husband in a small town and earns her bread by running a bakery in Bandra. She also inherits an ancestral bungalow, but the real estate mafia and the area goons make her life a living hell.
The two women meet by chance outside a pub and start sharing their lives and also a room in the bungalow. They are desperately dreaming of making money and plan a shortcut to a better life.
In a strange twist of events, the two women stumble upon a robbery. They impulsively decide to blackmail the crook into sharing the loot with them. But this scheme goes for a toss.
What could've been a genuinely hatke fare is ruined by inept writing by Srinivas Bhashyam and Anurag Kashyap. Perhaps, Bhashyam and Kashyap have no clue that in a fare like this, there had to be plenty of exciting moments. Let's put it this way: The recipe [idea] is right, but the outcome [script] is half-baked.
If the screenplay is sloppy, the direction is equally slapdash. The story not only moves at a sluggish pace and is laced with insipid situations, but there are moments that make you wonder whether the director and writer had fallen asleep while making the film.
Given a subject like the one in this film, the writers could've easily made an ideal comedy that would cater to the multiplex audiences, besides opening doors for other film-makers to attempt films on similar themes.
A few one-liners and a few sequences do bring a smile. Like the scene when an extortionist threatens Manisha, Sushmita and Sushant with an empty gun. Or the reference to 'short' heroes while a song is being picturised on Sushmita in a studio. But a line here and a scene there cannot salvage a weak fare.
Director Srinivas Bhashyam is saddled with an uninspiring screenplay and he needs to partner the blame partly. He may be a sound technician, but a director ought to be a good story teller.
Bapi-Tutul's music is as unexciting as the script. Dialogues are witty at times. Cinematography is the sole redeeming aspect of this enterprise.
The dame duo occasionally injects life with their performances. Manisha Koirala makes a sincere attempt and so does Sushmita Sen. But it is Sush who seems more comfortable attempting comedy. She displays a flair for light entertainers and can work wonders if offered such roles.
Makrand Deshpande is getting typecast. Sushant Sinh does his part well. Rakhi Sawant is fair.
On the whole, PAISA VASOOL disappoints big time. At the box-office, its sorry fate is inevitable.