If there’s even the slightest chance of a laugh, its cast ensures the joke doesn’t land, says Sukanya Verma.
Digital platforms are a boon and a bane.
If on one hand, they are providing platform for innovative storytellers to voice their brilliance, the pile of mediocre to plain awful fare is dangerously on the rise.
Whether as a low-risk avenue for faded, forgotten actors to make a comeback or an excuse to broadcast explicit material without catching the censor’s eye, the gifts of OTT are regularly abused.
As it is, there is such a crazy blizzard of Web shows and streaming services, it won’t be long before saturation sets in… if it hasn’t already.
ALT Balaji’s Booo Sabki Phategi, a horror comedy so inexplicably bad, does everything in its power to drive my point home.
The title itself is clear enough indication of the kind of demographic it means to attract but even the cheesiest ideas aren’t without potential.
Sexual release of tadapti aatmas, anyone?
Directed by Farhad Samji — one half of the writer duo Sajid-Farhad powering the pedestrian wit in Rohit Shetty romps (Golmaal, Chennai Express, Bol Bachchan, Simmba) for Ekta Kapoor’s digital division — Booo Sabki Phategi involves a haunted heritage hotel and a group of libidinous young couples.
Spirits lurk about, graveyards signed Gully Boy-Apna Time Gaya scream cry for attention, haunted photographs make fitful eye contact and creepy sounds play for scares but none as terrifying as the garish production design around which the characters cluster around.
The Ramsay Brothers have long sucked the premise dry with far better visual effects (and that’s saying something) but Samji hopes to revive it with abundant sex and stupidity.
If there’s even the slightest chance of a laugh, its dummy cast ensures the joke doesn’t land.
In this eight-episode long travesty that neither scares nor amuses, there is a motley crew of offensive stereotypes — a dim-witted Sardar, towel-dropping floozies and an overweight lisper whose propensity to ‘ch’ every word is an excuse to break into crude humour.
Even the usually reliable Sanjay Mishra ends up embarrassing himself around its crass horseplay.
Krushna Abhishek’s enthusiasm grates on the nerves.
Tusshar tries, fails and, ultimately, falls back on his tried-and-tested dumbstruck Golmaal gig.
There’s also Mallika Sherawat, once known for her steamy onscreen lip locks and lovemaking scenes and now for her annual Cannes appearances. She tiptoes in and out of scenes to deliver innuendoes, wearing the dupatta-less lehenga style she’s worn all through her career.
No wonder they even make a joke about it. Too bad that’s not funny either.
The rest of the bunch is godawful to say the least. You’ll see more nuance in a preschoolers play.
Booo Sabki Phategi starts with honeymooners Mukesh Tiwari and Ashwini Kalsekar, mocking the South Indian accent like Bollywood drivels always do, bumped off by a ghostly-severed hand.
Cut to a big group of friends checking into their childhood buddy’s deserted resort.
Something sinister looms and the death count is on the rise amidst interrupted sex sessions, loud squeals and zombie-led chaos.
For a little over three exhausting hours, The Ring, The Nun, Stree, Go Goa Gone, Bhool Bhulaiya, Golmaal, Murder, Sunny Deol and Nana Patekar are evoked to create an atmosphere of loony lunacy.
The humour fluctuates between daft (Blind date pe gayi. Main date thi, woh blind tha) to disgusting (Woh cheques hi kya jo bounce na ho? Tumhara matlab woh sex hi kya jo bounce na ho?).
At one point, Sherawat expounds on how har aurat ke paas ek jail hoti hai aur har mard ke paas ek qaidi.
You figure the rest.