The joke’s on us

Lisa Tsering finds Kambakkht Ishq, touted as the biggest ever Bollywood-Hollywood production, is good just for some laughs

By (Reuters)

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Published: Wed 8 Jul 2009, 8:50 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:31 PM

THERE’S A WORD used in Hindi films to mimic the sound of blows during a particularly ludicrous action scene: dishoom! — as in: “Biff! Pow!” The madcap Kambakkht Ishq has plenty of dishoom. It’s also entirely lacking in wit.

But the fact that it’s one of the most expensive Hindi-language films ever made and features such curiosities as Hollywood he-man Sylvester Stallone, Superman Returns star Brandon Routh and Bond girl-turned-reality star Denise Richards might draw enough of an audience in India to make a solid dishoom at the box office there.

The movie nominally is a love story — Kambakkht Ishq means, loosely, “damn love” — between Viraj Shergill (Akshay Kumar) and Simrita Rai (Kareena Kapoor), a top Hollywood stuntman and a surgeon, respectively. They hate love and each other, which according to the law of movie plots can lead only to one thing.

Most of the film’s jokes involve matters like Viagra, flatulence and cream pies, and the proceedings reach a climax during a fight scene on Los Angeles’ mean streets that finds a scantily clad Simrita and a girlfriend surrounded by bargain-basement thugs (look closely — one wears dentures). But fear not: a spry Sly shows up to save the damsels by crushing the bad guys with a car and ripping up a lamppost to dishoom them upside their heads.

One sequence that sparkles, though, is when Simrita accidentally drops a silver watch charm into Viraj’s chest cavity while stitching him up after surgery. Every hour, the charm emits a musical marriage mantra — which, of course, leads to a grandly opulent, disco-fied Bollywood anthem, complete with bare-bellied Hindu brides.

The macho Kumar (Singh Is Kinng) and the lithe Kapoor seem game for anything, as do Stallone, Routh and Richards, playing themselves.

It’s all so wild and nutty, one wishes the filmmakers or stars would wink to let us know they’re in on the joke. Sadly, that wink never comes.

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