‘Mr. White Mr. Black’ makes a mess of comedy (Review)

May 3rd, 2008 - 6:31 pm ICT by admin  

By Subhash K. Jha
Film: “Mr. White Mr. Black”; Cast: Suniel Shetty, Arshad Warsi; Director: Deepak Shivdasani; Rating: * Even a diehard movie buff will find watching “Mr. White Mr. Black” an ordeal akin to a visit to the dentist.

Suniel Shetty as the boor from Hoshiarpur chasing Arshad Warsi all over Goa to bring him back to the village for a piece of land, and safeguarding a spoilt heiress from debauchery is obviously inspired by Akshay Kumar in “Sabse Bada Khiladi”. Shetty does the innocent act with a warmth and compassion that this project doesn’t deserve.

The first half does have a few funny moments like Shetty’s dhoti being pulled off by a dog and a roguish Warsi hoodwinking an innocent Goan girl (newcomer Rashmi Nigam) into believing his double is doing all the mischief.

The second half is based entirely on a series of improvised gags with the Warsi-Shetty duo trying hard to breathe life into a dead script.

Once director Shivdasani takes the characters to Goa, he seems to have gone on a holiday, taking with him the scriptwriter as well. What we are left with is an amateurish clumsy parade of skits masquerading as spurts of satire.

Acute exasperation is all this wannabe-funny film gets out of us. Arguably “Mr. White Mr. Black” is the worst comedy to have come out of Mumbai’s dream factory in recent times.

It’s not the quality of performances - Shetty and Warsi are good. It isn’t even the fault of the production values - Thomas Xavier’s cinematography gets you going on a sight-seeing spree in Goa.

So who’s to blame for the royal mess of a comedy about a lovable charlatan who poses as a diamond robber and hotel owner and many more people? It mistakenly thinks that jokes about skin colour and humour about a dead mother being revived through old Hindi movies could keep the spirit of a modern-day satire alive.

“Mr. White Mr. Black” has hugely gifted comic actor Jameel Khan, who was a laugh riot as a music-contest organiser in Manish Acharya’s “Loins Of Punjab Presents”. But here Jameel is reduced to a non-funny non-entity. While everyone else is trying hard to be comic, the film’s biggest comic talent stands apart.

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