Sunday, September 2, 2007

Babies are cute (as are Akshay, Ritiesh and Fardeen)

I'm just going to tell it how it is. When you have three cute actors sharing warm, fuzzy moments with an adorable baby girl, you are bound to be intrigued enough to survive a film that is about just that. Heyy Babyy, contrary to popular belief, is not a rehash of Three Men and a Baby. Sure, the premise of three single men finding an infant girl at their doorstep is lifted from the Hollywood hit, but with Sajid Khan at the helm as first-time director, there is bound to be a good amount of Indian masala thrown in.

Hence, we have three Indian playboys settled in Australia, romancing as many as 15 actresses in one night (and in one song). We also have a high quotient of Hinglish spoken throughout, blended with borderline crude jokes that could only come from Sajid himself. In fact, as the film starts, you feel slightly uncomfortable watching it while in a family setting (wasn't this supposed to be about fatherhood, babies, tears, laughter etc.?). Luckily the film sobers down with the arrival of the baby, and it is rather rib-tickling watching Akshay Kumar, Fardeen Khan and Ritiesh Deshmukh trying to handle the baby girl.

There's no point delving too much into the plot: firstly, because there isn't really a consistent plot and secondly, because the film honestly isn't so much about the story as it is about the chemistry among the three actors and between them and the child. This is precisely where the film works, as the three lead males make a good enough trio whom you can tolerate for the two and a half hours...(more or less). And the baby is so damn cute that each time she comes on screen, you kind of just sit there and let out an 'aww'.

The emotional scenes are also surprisingly handled with care and ease by the mostly comedian director. Yes, there is some going over the top, particularly as the film reaches its climax, but then that is where the old-school Indian factor of the film really kicks in.

The main problem actually lies in the film's imbalance. It's almost as though Sajid is confused as to whether he's after a comedy or an emotional drama. He seems to strive for both here and, while it's a fairly good attempt, there is so much back-and-forth between the comedy and the drama that sometimes you don't even know if you are meant to laugh or cry. It's not a huge problem, but it gives an unwanted level of inconsistency to the script.

Also, some scenes are plain over the top, and dragged out beyond what's necessary. One such example is the fight between Ritiesh and the children before he loses his job; it looks a funny concept in the first minute or so, but then the entire sequence proceeds to last well over 5 minutes. Another such scene occurs when Akshay and Ritiesh disguise themselves as Arabs in the restaurant - comedy is usually best when it is straight to the point, and Sajid should have known better in instances such as these. The climax is also a bit of a drag at one point; you almost ask them to just end it already!

Nonetheless, there are enough redeeming factors for you to sit back and enjoy the film. The aforementioned chemistry, for starters, and the performances from the principal players. Akshay is by now a veteran when it comes to comedy, and he does not disappoint here. He also does well in the emotional scenes, proving that he can play the all-rounder part when required.

Ritiesh is yet another mainstay in comedies nowadays, and once again he shows why. He seems to have this natural approach to acting that a lot of Indian actors are without - no shouting his lines, overdoing the expressions - he just performs the role how it is. One hopes he will stay away from the likes of Cash and other such films that will peg him back in his early career.

Fardeen comes across as a surprise. This is one of his better performances, after being overshadowed by Anil Kapoor and Salman Khan in his last comic outing, No Entry. His Parimal/Chupke Chupke tribute is rather amusing, and almost a jab at the critics who are constantly after his Hindi-speaking capabilities.

Vidya Balan appears in a Westernized role for the first time in her career, and she both looks great and performs well. She doesn't show up until the second half, but she will definitely be appreciated for trying something different. Boman Irani is himself - goofy and uptight at the same time.

Shahrukh Khan's not so private guest appearance is amusing; SRK lights up the screen as always, even though he's there for all of 2 minutes.

Special mention to the baby simply for being one of the cutest babies ever.

The music is not exactly Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy's best, but there are enough tracks to take home with you. Mast Kalandar is the obvious favorite, while Dholna is more than a makeshift romantic number. Meri Duniya Tu Hi Re is one of the nicer parent-child songs in a while and is particularly elevated by the trio's chemistry with the baby.

All in all, it's very sweet to watch, that's for sure. One would still expect more from someone as funny and creative as Sajid, however, it's a nice and refreshing break from the sex and money based films one encounters these days. He's no match for his sister Farah Khan - her Main Hoon Na was a far better directorial debut - but there's definite promise. Not to mention, the most recent comedy that comes to mind is the intolerable Partner, so after that...this comes as somewhat of a blessing.

Verdict: Worth a watch.


Illusions01 said...

yeah i liked this movie as well, esp. the 1st half - too funny. i luv akshay n ritesh. too funny - and i want that baby! sooo cute :D

Reema said...

I guess I'm one of the view who didn't like it. The songs were good, I liked Riteish in it, and the baby was just adorable, but everything else fell flat for me.

Prachi said...

oh really..i was expecting something really bad..maybe i'll check it out!

Manish said...

I agree that the movie started out well but it became unbearable towards the end. Although Ritesh and Vidya Balan did well throughout.

Akshay has a shouting-his-lines problem and I think he got into that habit because of doing too many Priyadarshan movies. I hope Sajid is not another Priyadarshan in making. I can't take yet another one.