Once upon a time, a brilliant writer sat down and wrote a moving story of how two differently abled people found love in each other. He, a vertically challenged, matric-pass, and she, one of the greatest minds of the scientific community, wheelchair-bound because of her cerebral palsy. They love each other because in each other they find the only other person whose eyes they can look into.
Ah, the transcendental power of love.
Once upon another time, someone wrote a story about a fan from a dirty small Indian town, who gets to meet and befriend the star of his dreams. He sees the vulnerability behind the stardom and she learns to see herself through his eyes – as a beautiful fairy fallen from the skies.
Ah, the transformative nature of stardom.
Once upon a third time, yet another writer wrote a love story set up in the middle of humanity’s first manned Mission to Mars. Two estranged lovers come closer together by putting a few million miles between each other.
Ah, the monumental allure of space.
And then, along came Red Chillies Entertainment. They hit all three of the above writers on their head, bought their scripts out from under their unconscious limp bodies, and decided to make the movie that launched a thousand cinematic snores. Why make one good movie when you can destroy three good stories into a literal Zero?
The genius of Anand L Rai, who gave us the gems, Tanu Weds Manu and TWM Returns, is visible only intermittently in the innate Meerutness of Bauaa Singh, his rage-filled father who is sick of his freeloader son, his pragmatic mother who sees through both – her son’s childlike exterior and childish tantrums, and his one-eyed best friend – the most Johnny Lever-ish role we’ve ever seen Zeeshan Ayyub wasted on. Yet the small town charm is there, like when Bauaa and his friend sail through a NASA stress-test of holding their breath through toxic fumes by deeply inhaling the smoke, as they get nostalgic about the air quality of Meerut.
But these quaint moments are buried in a blundering plot which shifts gears from Meerut to Mumbai to Mars. The experience had many of my fellow audience realize life is too short as they walked out somewhere around the point our hero made a meteor shower happen with the sheer power of his lou. Over NASA skies to boot.
All was not lost as our entire extended family stepped out of the hall in shock. My five year old nephew learnt a new word from some co-sufferers – ‘traumatized’.
Ah, the teaching potential of Bollywood.