Star cast: Rajat Kapoor, Sanjay Mishra, Amol Gupte, Manu Rishi Chadha, Neha Dhupia.
Plot: Rajat Kapoor gets kidnapped. He is then palmed off to a bigger kidnapper for a fee which is shared between the first kidnnapper and himself (Rajat). The second kidnapper does the same thing and likewise, shares the booty with Rajat. This goes on till Rajat and Manu Rishi Chadha reach the fourth kidnapper (Amol Gupte).
What’s Good: The satire; the dialogues; the acting.
What’s Bad: The single track on which the drama moves; the very class appeal of the film.
Verdict: Phas Gaye Re Obama is for a select audience only; its poor marketing will tell on its business.
Loo break: None.
Revel Films Pvt. Ltd. and Warner Bros.’ Phas Gaye Re Obama (A) is a satire on the kidnapping business. It attempts to give, in a humorous way, an insight into the working of the business of kidnapping, likening it to any other business.
Om Shastri (Rajat Kapoor) is a non-resident Indian who is neck-deep in debt. He comes to India to sell his ancestral home so that he can repay his debt back home in America. However, he is unable to find a buyer for the house, thanks to recession. Instead, he is kidnapped by Bhaisaab (Sanjay Mishra) who, to his horror, soon realises that it wouldn’t be possible to get any ransom money from Om Shastri’s wife. Anni (Manu Rishi Chadha), a deputy of Bhaisaab, comes up with the brainwave of ‘selling off’ the right to claim ransom to a bigger kidnapper (Sumeet Nijhawan). The new kidnapper gives Bhaisaab Rs. 30 lakh for the right, which is shared 50:50 by Bhaisaab and Om Shastri. However, the new kidnapper keeps not just Om but also Anni in custody till he can recover the ransom money.
In quite a similar fashion, the second kidnapper sells the right to claim ransom to a third one, Munni Gangster (Neha Dhupia), who now pays the second kidnapper compensation which he (second kidnapper) shares with Om. Munni plays the same trick when she sells the right to a fourth kidnapper (Amol Gupte) who is also a minister. By this time, Om has made enough money to repay his debt. But Om and Anni soon realise that they would not be able to escape from the clutches of the minister as they had been able to do in the three earlier cases, because he was too shrewd for them.
So what happens to Om Shastri and Anni? Are they able to arrange for the ransom money to secure their own freedom? Or are they killed by the kidnapper-minister? For, the minister routinely murders the kidnapped victims if their near and dear ones do not come with the ransom money.
Script and Screenplay
Subhash Kapoor has written a fresh subject and his likening the kidnapping business to any other business is quite hilarious. No doubt, the drama is a farcical satire and will, therefore, be understood by the city-based class audience mainly but it is a well-crafted drama. Even the humour is more for the class audience than the masses.
On the minus side is the single track on which Subhash Kapoor’s story moves because of which the portion of the drama about the second and third kidnappers bores a little. However, the entertainment level picks up very well in the portion of the drama which deals with the fourth kidnapper. The ending seems far-fetched and rather convenient. Nevertheless, the script appeals in totality for the fresh take on the business of kidnapping. Subhash Kapoor’s dialogues are witty and enjoyable.
Rajat Kapoor does a good job. Manu Rishi Chadha is excellent and goes through his role like a seasoned actor. Sanjay Mishra lives his role. He is simply fantastic as Bhaisaab, evoking laughter at a number of places. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that he is the life of the drama. Amol Gupte is wonderful. Getting into the skin of the character, he comes out trumps with a performance that will be remembered for a long time. Neha Dhupia stands out in a rather different role and character. Sumeet Nijhawan is fairly nice. Brijendra Kala leaves a mark with his absolutely natural acting in the role of a cop. Amit Sial, Sushil Kumar and Devender Chaudhary lend able support as Bhaisaab’s three other deputies. Surendra Rajan (as the old relative of Om Shastri), Pragati Pandey (in the role of Om Shastri’s wife) and the rest provide fair support.
Subhash Kapoor’s direction is true to his script. His narrative style is in synch with his satirical script but, like the subject, the direction also caters to a small segment of the city audience. Manish J. Tipu’s music is reasonably nice. Sagar Das’ choreography is well-suited to the song which is photographed by Mujahid Raza. Arvind Kannabiran’s camerawork is lovely. Background music (by Manish J. Tipu) is appropriate. Sandeep Singh Bajeli’s editing is crisp. Sets (Gautam Sen) have an authentic feel to them.
On the whole, low-budgeted Phas Gaye Re Obama is entertaining fare for its target audience – those who frequent the multiplexes in the big cities. But its poor promotion will take its toll at the box-office.