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

October 23, 2009

Nut so funny after all!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:15 pm

October 23, 2009

Cast: Cyrus Broacha, Mahesh Manjrekar, Boman Irani, Dia Mirza

Director: Kunal Vijayakar

How many times can you repeat the same joke before it stops being funny? That’s a question Kunal Vijayakar ought to have asked himself before unleashing on us his occasionally-funny-but-largely-silly directorial effort, Fruit & Nut.

Cyrus Broacha inadvertently sits on Mahesh Manjrekar’s fractured leg while visiting him in hospital. Funny? Yes. But repeated four times in the span of one minute, you’re no longer laughing. The same logic can be applied to a gag in which a car door whacks a character in the groin. It’s comical when they do it the first time. Ceases to be when it’s done over and over again.

Fruit & Nut stars television’s funny-man Cyrus Broacha as Jolly Maker, a bumbling idiot who becomes an accidental hero when he rescues pretty architect Monica Gokhale (played by Dia Mirza) from the clutches of eccentric Harry Holkar (played by Boman Irani), who claims he’s the Maharaja of Bombay city. Holkar enlists the help of corrupt builder Khandar Jhala (played by Mahesh Manrekar), and threatens to blow up the city because he’s unhappy that it’s been turned into a concrete jungle.

The film’s core idea is interesting and has the potential to make for an engaging satire, but Fruit & Nut settles for pratfalls and slapstick humour instead of the smart writing it so badly needs.

There are a few gems though, like the track involving the two ageing hitmen from Dubai — Salim and Suleiman — who miss their target because one’s got a cataract condition and the other Parkinsons. To be fair, there are also some clever one-liners sprinkled throughout the film, like most of the dialogue uttered by Manjrekar’s character Khandar Jhala, who speaks in a strange cocktail of Hindi and English. Spoofing every pop-cultural figure you can think of, he makes comical references to films, film-stars, television shows and just about anything that is popular or revered. Like that Kaun Banega Swargvasi game show he concocts with a mad scientist in the film’s climax, for example.

The real problem with Fruit & Nut is that beneath all the fun and jokes, the film’s plot is more-or-less incoherent, and its tone never consistent. As a result, it doesn’t quite succeed as a social satire because it’s far too silly to be taken seriously.

Of the cast, Boman Irani and Mahesh Manjrekar steal the show with their broad humour, while Dia Mirza fails to grasp the tone of the film, and Cyrus Broacha is sadly straitjacketed in a part that doesn’t really tap into his mad, wild side.

Despite juvenile jokes like peeing on open electric wires, Fruit & Nut is mercifully not the sort of vulgar comedy we’ve got used to seeing at the cinemas these days. It’s best suited for those who don’t have a problem with silly, childish humour. I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for director Kunal Vijaykar’s Fruit & Nut. For those expecting anything more, it’s possibly the longest ninety minutes of your life .

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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