Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

October 31, 2014

Granny don’t preach!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 8:36 pm

October 31, 2014

Cast: Rekha, Sharman Joshi, Randhir Kapoor, Shweta Kumar, Anupam Kher

Director: Indra Kumar

If I had a swig of Scotch for each time someone tells Rekha that she belongs in the kitchen, I’d be very drunk watching Super Nani. Come to think of it, that just might be the ideal condition under which to take in this tacky, unintentionally hilarious film that seems to have shown up roughly 30 years after its expiration date.

The movie’s over-simplistic plot, based on the long-running Gujarati play Baa Ae Maari Boundary, is centered on a doting, committed housewife whose selfish husband and grown-up children have little patience around her. Sporting orange henna-dyed hair and crisp kanjeevarams, Rekha plays Bharti, a pathetic doormat who exists only to be humiliated by her family and routinely banished to the kitchen each time she attempts to involve herself in their lives. But when her New York-raised grandson Mann (Sharman Joshi) urges her to reinvent herself in order to become relevant again, Bharti channels her inner fashion-model and gets everyone at home all hot under the collar.

The film’s by-the-numbers plotting and hammy performances further add to the cheap TV-soap aesthetic that director Indra Kumar brings to this well-intentioned but frankly regressive melodrama that trades in tired clichés from the eighties. Randhir Kapoor shows up as Bharti’s boorish husband who’s appreciative of a female friend in slinky dresses, but outraged when his own missus considers signing a modeling contract.

The dialogues are positively cringe-inducing and the values that the film espouses strictly vegetarian. “Yeh hamari American bimaari hai,” Sharman’s character explains when Bharti’s adult daughter declares her intention to enter a live-in relationship with her boyfriend. “Hamaari davaiyaan salon laga deti hain aane mein, lekin hamari bimaari jaldi aa jaati hai,” Sharman adds.

Post intermission Bharti undergoes a Khoon Bhari Maang-style glamorous makeover, and overnight becomes the most sought after model on the circuit. It’s an opportunity for Rekha to have a little fun with the role, and possibly the only fun anyone associated with this film – including the audience – gets to have during its flabby 2 hours and 13 minutes running time.

Super Nani doesn’t just deliver its message (“Appreciate your mother!”), it whacks you on the head with it; the film feels so heavy-handed it makes Baaghbaan appear subtle in comparison. Yet, there’s an undeniable earnestness that will appeal to anyone who likes to be spoon-fed his moral science lesson.

I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five. Sadly the film squanders the talent of its very watchable leading lady who deserves so much better than this drivel.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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