Director: Neerraj Pathak
Cast: Preity Zinta, Sunny Deol, Arshad Warsi, Shreyas Talpade, Ameeesha Patel
You know that feeling when your spirit leaves the body, hovers above the head and then unabashedly laughs at your face for trying to “critique” a Deol vehicle with a Bhojpuri engine? Of course you don’t – dead people don’t have feelings. But tell that to the makers of Bhaiaji Superhit, otherwise known as the Ghosts of Bollywood Past. A film that features Sunny Deol as an idiotic Banarasi don a week after he was an idiotic Banarasi Pandit in Mohalla Assi, IPL team owner Preity Zinta as his jealous wife who thinks it is a fine idea to be estranged for 8 months and serve him divorce papers as a joke, Ameesha Patel as a svelte Bollywood superstar slated to play the role of Zinta in a film about the idiotic Banarasi don with an accent that sounds like a cross between Aishwarya Rai and Shoaib Akhtar’s, Shreyas Talpade as a broke Bengali screenwriter named Tarun Porno Ghosh, and a short-circuited Arshad Warsi as a fraudulent big-budget director who is making the don’s film to help him win back his stupid wife.
In fact, Warsi’s role – that of a for-hire artist who wants to fleece his shady financier for some quick and dirty money – is almost autobiographical for the real-life participants of this disgracefully shoddy movie. But perhaps the most incomprehensible aspect of it is the title: Isn’t a “Y” missing in Bhaiaji? Y is it missing? (You must forgive my sense of humour – it is 2 AM and I am so lonely and cold)
We all sell our souls every now and then. But the only problem with good actors – especially those like Sanjay Mishra, Jaideep Ahlawat, Brijendra Kala, Pankaj Tripathi – doing the same here is that their soul-selling is for public consumption. Unlike, say, a film critic accepting bribes from producers to bump up ratings, this is no private action; it’s out there for everyone to see and judge. A fat paycheck might secure a future that enables them to choose better films. Earning a living (by temporarily dying inside) is no crime. But the trauma of having to tolerate the baffling incompetence and vanity of ex-stars will stay with them – and us. Forever. But I suppose this is a lesser evil when the brain-dead world and obscene money of pay-per-shift Indian television is the only other choice.
It could have been worse.
For instance, imagine an erotic comedy in which a depressed gangster called DDD consumes Viagra pills instead of Xanax, paws at a half-naked girl who records their night while crooning words like “sleepy akhiyaan” and “come touch me” so that she can blackmail him into loving and impregnating her later. Or yet another tired hinterland drama in which a rival don tries to murder the stupid wife by crashing her car into the river, kidnaps her unconscious body from the underwater wreckage, keeps it in ‘coal’ storage until she miraculously comes back to life, then again tries to murder her by pinning her on the railway track and trying to drive a random train that appears out of nowhere over her – and still fails. Or a satire on filmmaking in which a corrupt director ill-treats a writer, kisses an exotic model on set to demonstrate a scene, and encourages the gold-digging actress to sleep with the producer and marry him so that she never has to work for a penny again. Or a parody on ageing celebrities called Gadar: A Love Story, or Hero: The Prem Katha of a Spy, in which a Sunny Deol repulsively brushes his lips against Patel and cornily romances Zinta to prove his undying commitment to the arts. Or even a “masala” action flick in which 2.5-kilogram hands break necks for fun, mocks the concept of bloodshed, threatens to kill if disobeyed and summons the rain at will because of his devotion to Lord Shiva…