Director: Suman Ganguli

Cast: Yatharth Ratnum, Ranvir Shorey, Gracy Singh, Rajpal Yadav

It may have seemed cool on paper. Let’s get the spunky R&B-loving Banaras teenager who won The Voice India, and make him act as a Himachali kid who goes on to do well but not win a singing reality show. Also, let’s give him the world’s most embarrassing haircut and make him dress like a cross between Govinda and Ranveer Singh on a bad day. The classic alternate-reality scenario to mess with every Indian mind that was so invested in him back in 2015. That is, let Yatharth Ratnum be the anti-Yatharth in the second half of the film.

After all, what a great message it’d be to so many small-town aspiring singers. Watching a successful kid fail like them will mean that even he understands what they go through. And it won’t seem so hard anymore.

Yet, this awfully overbearing mess of a movie ends up advertising, exoticizing and almost exploiting the concept of failure instead. As Shimla brat Som Sharma, Ratnum’s trajectory assumes the insufferable B-grade gloominess of a filmy kid that should be slapped silly for stretching the ‘loser’ part into a 75-minute ham-fest. He is fine as a singer, and now I suspect the writers wanted him to genuinely dislike the taste of failure by handing him such an acting debut.

In fact, the most gratifying moment of my year arrived when Som’s exasperated friend (who consistently looks like she is too young to be dolled up like a pageant contestant) finally does slap him for being such a self-pitying moron. Unfortunately, it was just once.

He contorts his face into various SRK-in-Darr exclamations to denote depression, anxiety, sadness and general cinematic angst. When he isn’t doing that, the elders around him are scheming to lift him out of his funk.

All the actors look like they’re trying too hard in a drunken skit at the colony New Year Party. And this includes Ranvir Shorey, who will do well to treat this film the way a freelance writer treats a quick and dirty corporate job – hide it

A scene involves his parents speaking to his principal (a hairy-eared Arif Zakaria, who will forever remain the rapist ghost from Haunted 3D in my mind), where the man wants to tell them that the boy just needs some warmth. This exchange goes on for twelve long minutes, and involves Zakaria spouting all kinds of inane metaphors (“he may have the condition of paranoia!”), even having an animated bird fly into the room to drive home his deep message. To be fair, the bird was far more expressive than the humans in the same frame.

All the actors look like they’re trying too hard in a drunken skit at the colony New Year Party. And this includes Ranvir Shorey, who will do well to treat this film the way a freelance writer treats a quick and dirty corporate job – hide it. He plays Som’s father, who actually “evolves” from being the villainous arts-hating dad to a sensible parent – a two-dimensional rarity in Indian films, and perhaps the only notable element in this one.

The enigmatic Gracy Singh, who went from the dizzy heights of Lagaan and Munnabhai MBBS to the murky depths of KRK’s Deshdrohi, will still count this flimsy role as an improvement. As Som’s doting mother and an ex-classical singer, she does just about enough to convince us that she once existed. At one point, she wakes up from a nightmare screaming with a jolt, scaring the living daylights out of us viewers, who wondered if the genre, too, decided to switch sides. It’s almost as if she visualized the kind of insufferable film this would end up looking like.

One of Som’s main rivals on the show is a German girl with a bleached-blonde mother who would like to have us believe that her Gujarati-NRI accent is some breed of German English

The kids, specifically, are insanely annoying – verbally screaming ICQ-level terms like “wohoo!” and “yay!” to denote various states of excitement. I never thought I’d say this, but Rajpal Yadav is actually one of the sanest people in this story. One of Som’s main rivals on the show is a German girl with a bleached-blonde mother who would like to have us believe that her Gujarati-NRI accent is some breed of German English. And then there’s the town of Shimla, which should be in the process of setting up a competent script-inspection committee so that such films don’t stand a chance of abusing their snow, slopes and mall-road locations.

Why is this film called Blue Mountains, anyway? Because it’s long enough to make us feel like we’re holding our breath on top of a freezing mountain till we’ve turned blue? In fact, why is this film?

Watch the trailer here:

 

Rating:   star

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