Friday, October 29, 2010
Director: Abbas Tyrewala
The Story: Siddharth Arya (John Abraham) lives in London and is in a live-in relationship with Krutikka. His best friend is Omar (Raghu Ram), a Pakistani whose unmarried sister is pregnant. By a quirk of fate, Sid ends up receiving calls meant for a 24/7 suicide helpline for Indians. He spends a sleepless night answering desperate callers on the verge of giving up their lives. That’s how he gets to know Mishka (Pakhi – Abbas Tyrewala’s wife, btw). She is about to swallow all the sleeping pills in a bottle when she decides to call the helpline. Siddharth talks Mishka out of committing suicide. Mishka continues to call him every night and Siddharth patiently listens to her. When he refuses to divulge his name, she calls him Fidhaatho, meaning ‘someone who is absolutely trustworthy’.
Unfortunately, Siddharth meets her and pretends to be someone else. He lives a dual life – one as the voice on the helpline and the other as Siddharth. He lies a lot – I am not sure I understand the purpose to it, except that it fits in with the title of the film. The film goes on to show whether their relationship will last after Mishka gets to know the truth.
My Perception: The concept of the plot – the helpline for people on the verge of committing suicide – is good. Siddharth helping Mishka is very acceptable. The film has been built on this strong premise. But how it has been fleshed out is another story all together. The characters are all believable. A pregnant woman who refuses to accept the baby’s father’s (a Japanese) marriage proposal; a Gay man trying to find the right partner; Omar having hidden feelings for his best friend’s girlfriend; Mishka feeling desolate when her mother commits suicide and her boyfriend Kabir (Madhavan) ditches her for another woman; Kabir feeling jealous of Mishka’s newfound happiness with Siddharth – everything is believable and acceptable.
But the most important point of Jhootha Hi Sahi – Siddharth feeling the urge to lie to Mishka – I am not able to quite swallow that one. It does not seem natural. I can quite understand people telling lies under exceptional circumstances. And then there are those who are compulsive liars. Siddharth is neither. Why does he feel the need to lie? I felt lost. And as this is supposed to be the backbone of the story, the film just falls apart as it does not work.
John Abraham – it’s a surprise that he has made a name for himself in competitive Bollywood and directors have the guts to make films with him as the only hero. I have never found his acting great. But it was quite appalling in this film. He goes through the film with a dumbstruck look most of the time with a bit of pathos thrown in on and off. It’s amazing how the producer and director thought that they could rely on such an actor (?) to make the film run.
Pakhi – she was not too bad in what I presume is her debut venture in Bollywood.
Raghu Ram of the MTV Roadies fame has does an excellent job in his role as Omar. If there is a reason to watch this film, I would say that this is the one. He is the saving grace of the film.
The music by AR Rahman was good. What surprised me was the stammering Siddharth breaking into songs that are sung perfectly.
One more scene that needs to be mentioned is the one at the Chinese restaurant where Sid and Mishka go for dinner. The waiter tries to be helpful when Sid stammers while reading the menu. Mishka turns around and tells the poor man off. I am still (2 days after seeing the film) trying to fathom why she is rude to him. One angle to the story is that Mishka is pleased that she has become confident enough to tell someone off for his bad behaviour. But what was wrong with the waiter’s behaviour? I am flummoxed.
Verdict: All in all, a waste of good money. If you are keen on seeing the film, would advise you to watch it on TV as the film is bound to get to the small screen pretty soon.
Rating: ** Shaky