Making a situational comedy certainly takes time and ingenuity, more so when the film revolves around the happenings within one house over a period of one month. WHAT THE FISH is exactly this -- a situational comedy of errors.
Sudha Mishra aka Maasiji [Dimple Kapadia], a 67-year-old, divorced and grumpy woman with enormous energy and the ability to live in the present, has just come back to her home in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. She is a mother to a confused and angry young man who has given up a career in television direction and her divorced husband is a playboy in L.A. While visiting her son, she requests her niece to take care of her house, especially her fish and her money plant. In turn, the niece promptly gets Sumit, her fiancÃ©, to bear the responsibility of being the housekeeper.
However, at the end of her visit, Sudha reaches her house and starts its inspection with detective accuracy when she realizes all wasn't well in her absence. In fact, she is startled when a woman in white rushes out of her bathroom... What ensues is a recap of the events that took place beginning from when Sudha left her house in Sumit's hands.
In Maasiji's absence, Sumit throws a party at the house inviting all his friends. Though initially things are fine, they start to fall apart as each of the characters introduced in the party become temporary tenants at the house...
Though visualized as a situational comedy that revolves around each of the temporary tenants, the film seldom draws audience laughter, while the rest of the time the gags are relatively mundane and predictable. Right through the first half of the film, the viewer is left with a nagging feeling that constantly questions 'when will the actual fun start?'
Thankfully, while the first half of the film is dedicated in establishing each of the characters and their respective roles, the second half takes the story forward. Beginning from the last frame of the film, the story goes into flashback mode relating to what exactly happened. Based on a day-wise flashback sequence, the plot unravels each of the players that were responsible in muddling up the relatively serene life of Maasiji.
Dimple Kapadia, who appears at the start and every time one segment of the film's plot ends, re-telling her horrifying tale, does her role with aplomb. Though the film has been promoted to feature the veteran actress as the lead, it is mainly the ensemble cast that act as the main characters. Though the performances of each of the actors are commendable, a lot could have been done in terms of adding a bit of vigour to the film's script.
On the whole, WHAT THE FISH is just another one of the mass-produced comedy dramas that work with the audience when they are in a group. Unfortunately, when watching the film, one can't help but wonder what the title, WHAT THE FISH, really means and how does the film derive such a title for a seemingly comic storyline.