We can’t complain and we can’t blame it on anything or anyone else. It’s our fault, really. It’s our own sins we are paying for.
We the people of India are guilty — of loving him so much, of hailing and feting him and spending so much money on him, at the expense of many others, that karma the b***h has come back to bite us in the ass in the form of his son.
We are also guilty of promoting, endorsing, practising nepotism everywhere. We are cool with it. What is father’s will go to the son. We are okay with star children sprouting on our screens, with or without talent, regularly.
So we can’t really complain when Bollywood puts up money to reassure him, intermittently, that he too is an actor, a star. That he too is in the reckoning, that he can get a film centred around him. It is due to him because, well, it just is.
He was animated once. He even tried to act once in a while. In some films he was more than just bearable. He was fun. He was never a great actor, or even a half-decent one. But, you know, he had that Bachchan-ka–beta charm. And he didn’t carry this smug entitlement then.
Now he does.
And that’s one reason why it is absolute torture to watch the wooden Abhishek Bachchan for 126 minutes. You sit there waiting for one small, minute expression that won’t make you either cringe or slap yourself with your own shoes. It never comes. He just goes from bad to very bad and then worse.
All Is Well is not so much a film as a torture chamber. A more all-encompassing incompetent idiocy would be hard to come by.
The film has nothing, NOTHING that’s worth even two minutes of your time. It’s full of such asinine characters and such incredibly off-the-mark inanities that calling it a film would be a criminal offence.
Its plot is more like a conspiracy by some halfwits to drag and stretch a non-story for over two hours. It proceeds only on the basis of all its characters’ extreme stupidity. Mostly that’s the crux of all goofy, comic films, but here the timing is so off, the acting so abysmal, and scenes so tacky that situations that would normally make you laugh make you weep.
That the film has supporting actors known for their acting skills seemed to have irked the director and the film’s writers so much that they’ve gone out of their way to humiliate each one in such a horrifying way that it’s a wonder they turned up for shooting after the first day.
If you think I’m hyperventilating, consider this.
Inder (Abhishek Bachchan) lives in Bangkok and is some sort of a singer with a band. He’d like to cut an album, but for that, a repulsive Tikku Talsania says, he’ll have to pay. Inder has no money. Many years ago he ran away from his home, in Kasol, Himachal, to be far away from his constantly bickering parents. His father was a meanie and his mother a whiner and a whimperer.
Just as Inder is thinking “kahan se laaon paisa”, he gets a call from Cheema (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) who says, “Come to Kasol to sign away your father’s bakery and take your share.”
Off he goes, but with one annoying, overly-madeup Nimmi (Asin) biting at his heels. She keeps stalking him to plead/threaten: “Are you going to marry me? Please, marry me. Marry me, varna I’m going to get married. Marry me before I actually get married to another…” Inder’s response to all this is a look of bored disgust. She’s unperturbed because that’s the expression Abhishek Bachchan has for everyone, all the time here. So she goes on pestering him, on and on… making me feel so bad that I felt like saying, “Chal, I’ll marry you if you wash your face.”
Nimmi is actually all set to get married to another. Her house, in Chandigarh, en route to Kasol, is full of Sikh mummy, papa and relatives waiting for her arrival. But instead of going home, she follows Inder to Kasol, his bored-cum-disgusted look notwithstanding.
In Kasol, Inder steps into his house to find frizzy-haired Cheema holding a gun and threatening his papa, Bhalla (Rishi Kapoor), to sign the papers. Some money is owed to him. Mother (Supriya Pathak) is nowhere to be seen. She’s at an ashram as she is afflicted with Alzheimer’s. Only in her case, Alzheimer’s means standing around like a wilting potted plant throughout the film. Inder gets her discharged.
Shaadi house full of sardars is waiting for Nimmi the beti-bride to arrive and get married, but she hangs around Inder, mostly to prop up the potted plant so that it doesn’t flop to the ground, but also to keep pestering him to marry her, varna…
Inder wants to somehow arrange the money to pay Cheema. Only option is to get mummy’s jewellery which is with their mamaji. There we meet Seema Pahwa who has grown Bugs Bunny teeth and turned into a chest-beating Punjabi Manorama. It was unbearable to watch her demean herself.
Cheema and his morons in a convertible Merc are chasing father-son-wilting plant and bhagodi dulhan who are in a cop car. At every stop the cars get swapped. Now this team is in the convertible and that one in the cop car… including at Nimmi’s house where, as Cheema and his goons drag her away at gun point, in front of her entire parivaar, this is the exchange:
Nimmi’s mother: “Khyal rakhna, puttar.”
Nimmi: “Fikar nahin karna. Mujhe kuch nahin hoga.”
There’s more chasing, wilting plant intermittently sobbing, perhaps because Rishi Kapoor is so, like, absent from his own body, or because Cheema’s Afro is becoming more and more agitated and starting to crawl off his head, before we come to the end where all gets well because beta realises that he should be like Shravan Kumar and carry his parents on his shoulders and not run away to Bangkok. So he gives a bhashan that made me want to scream, “Arre, we are Shravan Kumars. We’ve been carrying you for so long, from one boring film to another… We should stop, now.”
The other problem with Chota Bachchan’s sermon was that Zeeshan was the film’s real Shravan Kumar, carrying this dead on arrival thing almost entirely on his shoulders.
On paper I imagine All Is Well’s script may have sounded like it would be fun. And it does have two moments that are so bad that they are good. But after sitting through and suffering it all, what I’d really like to see is proof that Umesh Shukla was actually directing this thing. Because all through it seems that the actors and the cameraman were handed over the script and told to go do their thing.
I wish they had just gone to Kasol, rolled it and smoked it.
August 22, 2015