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Prakash Electronics Review: An Absurdly Incompetent Movie

Even if all the actors are discarded and replaced by animated 8-bit stick figures, the plot of this movie would remain as devastatingly coherent

Rahul DesaiRahul Desai

January 5, 2017 | 05:01 PM

FC Rating

★★★★★
film-companion
Prakash Electronics, Bollywood, Rahul Desai, Hemant Pandey, Hrishita Bhatt, Vrajesh Hirjee, Chandrachur Singh, Manoj Joshi, Manoj Pahwa, Sanjai Mishra, Manoj Sharma, Movie Reviews

At the cost of sounding rather presumptuous, I’ve decided that some films – especially Indian ones, specifically a certain “breed” of Hindi ones – can be pre-judged from the manner of their premiere events. One could argue that the title, Prakash Electronics (Sonali Cable’s C-grade brother, anyone?), too, is fairly indicative. But some of us are deluded optimists, raging sadomasochists or simply gluttons for punishment.

I enter a sprawling suburban multiplex, but the venue feels more like a misplaced magic portal invented to transport me to a seedy, underground, outdated, old-school B-town culture that exists only in, well, C-grade films about Bollywood. I expect to see a golden Contessa ferrying the producers to this celebration.

Once inside, it feels like a Bigg Boss celebration of sorts: dolled-up starlets waltzing in with vertically challenged casting agents and small-time financiers; silk sequined blazers and sweaty-armpitted selfies; boozy breaths and overwhelming perfumes; over enthusiastic PR voices urging any human within earshot to “aaiye aaiye,” while addressing every strange face as bhai, beta, ji and bhabhi; yesteryear and cult television faces welcomed as ‘special’ chief guests (“poora theatre apna hai!” exclaimed one, not misguidedly); mildly horrified cinema ushers visibly suppressing their existential meltdowns; loud family friends hooting at the appearance of the director who insists on inventing an hour-long interval to introduce every member of the cast and crew with serial-killer-ish “aap do shabd boliye – achhe waale” requests.

If this grand event were a person, it’d be a post-8PM white-leather-shoe-brandishing Shakti Kapoor smirking in the dimly lit bar corner of a tiger-rug-wearing Madh bungalow’s pool party.

But I digress. Or do I?

Once this smoky neo-noir smutty surrealism wears off, the film becomes a mere extension of its spell. This is the kind of absurdly incompetent movie that would make as much (lack of) sense, no matter how many scenes are subtracted or rearranged in various questionable orders.

This is the kind of absurdly incompetent movie that would make as much (lack of) sense, no matter how many scenes are subtracted or rearranged in various questionable orders.

Even if all the actors are discarded and replaced by animated 8-bit stick figures, the plot would remain as devastatingly coherent. It takes a special kind of talent to create something so uniquely flexible and inconsequential, so grossly inept and detached that – believe me when I say this – Rajpal Yadav’s cameo (as Rajpal Yadav, signing autographs on Marine Drive) is the most restrained part of the film.

Needless to say, this is the story of a good-hearted electrician (a facially aggressive Hemant Pandey) in a Mumbai locality seemingly adjacent to Mehrauli Archeological Park and diagonally opposite to the Taj Mahal and Queen’s Necklace. An aspiring actress (a pitifully demonetized Hrishita Bhatt), who he initially mistakes to be a clingy bar dancer, moves into the multifaceted ‘Mumbai nagri’.

He drifts into fantasies of being a Bollywood-Dresswala-designed superhero (“Krrish,” the maladjusted plastic mask exclaims) to her frequent damsel-in-skimpy-distress avatar. Naturally, their theme song is ‘Ishq da current lag gaya’. And naturally, a crucial (?) five-minute sequence is scored to the unfiltered brilliance of Itzhak Perlman’s signature string music from Schindler’s List. The rest of the background score resembles evokes the splendor of a drowning Tom pounding a gargling Jerry.

Manoj Pahwa is a neighbour obsessed with porno DVDs. Sanjai Mishra (what is a terrible comedy without this veteran’s inimitable omnipresence?) is a neighbour whose wives keep changing in every scene (“biwi ek, roop anek” it seems; you can’t make this stuff up) and Vrajesh Hirjee speaks in his most Koliwada accent yet.

There are others, like the mysteriously sterile Chandrachur Singh and the garishly Gujarati Manoj Joshi, but they aren’t the point. In all fairness, nothing is the point. In fact, they are collectively overshadowed by the fantastic expressiveness of the many curious onlookers peering into the camera in public places because “dekh, shooting chal raha hai”.

2017 can only go up from here. And I mean this from the bottom of my bruised heart. The next time I call my electrician for a blown fuse, I won’t. I’d rather my house burns down.

To prove that I sat till the final fuzzy and pixelated frame, here’s the heart-stopping spoiler: the girl becomes a single-screen heroine and dumps the inane simpleton, who ironically hated the “sleazy film line” to begin with.

The makers wondered aloud in the break why they were given a UA certificate. I wondered why they weren’t given an N/A certificate instead.

2017 can only go up from here. And I mean this from the bottom of my bruised heart. The next time I call my electrician for a blown fuse, I won’t. I’d rather my house burns down.