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

December 5, 2008

Over and out!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 11:09 pm

December 05, 2008

Cast: Mandira Bedi, Eijaz Khan, Anil Kumble

Director: Chandrakant Kulkarni

It’s a clear sign that a movie isn’t working for you when you start looking at your watch. But when you start shaking your watch because you think it might have stopped, you know this film has failed.

Meerabai Not Out is an excruciatingly slow-paced comedy about a cricket-obsessed school teacher, Meera, played by Mandira Bedi, whose as-yet-single status is blamed on the fact that nothing and no one gets her juices flowing the way the game does. Her middle-class family is committed to finding her an eligible groom, but because she can’t seem to get her priorities sorted, it’s become impossible to find a match for her. When she does meet her soul-mate eventually – a young doctor, played by television actor Eijaz Khan – and prepares to settle down with him, she finds herself confronted with the challenge of having to choose between love and cricket.

Predictable every step of the way, Meerabai Not Out is the kind of film that expects you to sit patiently while the characters and the screenplay slowly arrive at the inevitable conclusion. What happens, and how and why, will be perfectly clear to any attentive viewer as soon as the plot lays down its tracks. Which is why the experience of watching this film unfold is similar to the pain that comes from pulling out your nostril hair one by one.

There’s a running joke in the film which involves random people telling Meera, our protagonist, that she resembles Mandira Bedi, to which she angrily responds that it’s Mandira who resembles her and not the other way around. The punch-line to that self-deprecating joke is delivered by Meera again who says: “Aur main pure kapde pahenti hoon”, meaning: “Unlike her, I am always fully dressed.”

This is possibly the only smart moment in this dumb, regressive film in which Meera’s fate is left to the outcome of a cricket match between her brother and her fiancé.

Anil Kumble makes a series of short appearances in this film as the object of Meera’s crush; it’s the kind of embarrassing cameo that the poor chap’s not likely to live down in a hurry.

A thumbs down and one out of five for director Chandrakant Kulkarni’s Meerabai Not Out. This is a film that must be seen to be believed.

But wait, that’s too high a price to pay!

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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