Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Shekhar Kapur, Himesh Reshammiya, Farah Karimaee
Director: Shawn Arranha
I walked into Teraa Surroor with great expectations. Mainly because the last Himesh Reshammiya film, The Xposé (2014), was so deliciously awful. For those who missed it, The Xposé is set in the film industry in the 1960s. It has Himesh playing a cop who becomes a star. And it has this immortal line of dialogue — a filmmaker is briefing a female actor on what she needs to do to bag a role, and he says: “Na dance, na expression, na pose. Sirf expose.”
So I was super enthusiastic about Teraa Surroor. I went to a 9 a.m. show. It was so early that the multiplex escalators weren’t operational yet. I energetically climbed to the fifth floor. But sadly, Himesh and director Shawn Arranha really let me down.
Because Teraa Surroor is just excruciating. The story is outrageously silly — Himesh plays the deadly gangster Raghu who is trying to get his girlfriend out of a Dublin jail. This had potential, but it never becomes the stuff of pure comedy. Mostly, Himesh just struts around in sleeveless shirts to show off his newly acquired body. He’s sort of a like a modern-day Bharat Bhushan, because the expression on his face never changes. He has perfected the unblinking-eyes-staring-into-the-distance look and he stays with it. And that mop of painstakingly styled and sprayed hair on his forehead never, ever moves — not even after he has killed half a dozen men.
We see Himesh do it all. He murders, he makes love, he strategizes, he mourns, he pines. He even stands up for Mother India by showing the Irish what tough Indian men are made of. Himesh’s music and his voice underscore his every move. You can imagine that this gets dull pretty quickly. Incredibly, for the heroine’s role, Himesh and Shawn have found a new actor, Farah Karimaee, who is so weak an actor that she makes Himesh look like a thespian (which was perhaps the intention).
But all is not lost. Because Teraa Surroor has a few highlights — I laughed out loud when Shekhar Kapur walked into the frame in slow motion as the Indian ambassador in Dublin. I laughed again when we were told that a mistake Raghu makes at the beginning of the film is, in fact, essential for the larger good of the country. But my absolute favourite part was the iconic Naseeruddin Shah playing the con artist Santino. We are told that Santino, whose nickname is The Bird, has broken out of 14 prisons. He advises Raghu on the art of prison breaks.
At their first meeting, Santino tells Raghu: I charge not per hour or per project but by word spoken, so don’t ask stupid questions. That’s my new business strategy.