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The Dreaded Cut

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Poster Boys
Director: Shreyas Talpade
Cast: Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Shreyas Talpade, Sonali Kulkarni and others
Rating: * *

The Marathi original of this film was out in 2014, but the Hindi 'Poster Boys' comes out at a time when Bollywood is discovering a tone of frankness about matters sexual. And it has the Deol brothers lending it their muscle; probably for the first time they are doing a film like this. Unfortunately that also means that the film is peppered with references to their old hits.

So, what happens is that a retired army-man Jagaavar (Sunny Deol), a timid teacher Vinay (Bobby Deol) and a recovery agent Arjun (Sheyas Talpade, also the director) find themselves on a poster about the benefits of vasectomy. They are understandably appalled, because in an Indian village (or a city for that matter) ‘nasbandi’ means loss of manhood.

Actually, such a thing should not be the cause of laughter for more than half an hour—dragging it over a full length feature means padding with tasteless gags, shrieking women and generally ear-splitting decibel levels.

Last week’s 'Shubh Mangal Saavdhan' had dealt with erectile dysfunction with sympathy and a lot of gentle humour. The problem of miscommunication that these three villagers face could do with some deft humour, even if some of it was crass. But Talpade perhaps believed that our audiences would not be able to appreciate subtlety and never allows for a moment of quiet introspection. Before taking their fight to the indifferent bureaucrats who caused them this embarrassment, they would, for instance, stop to think why their loved ones won’t believe them when they haven’t had that dreaded snip.

And if they have, it’s hardly the end of the world, the way people around them behave. (Bharati Achrekar and Ashwini Kalsekar in the same film-- that requires ear plugs!)

Some gags do raise laughs, but on the whole it is much ado about nothing. If anything, 'Poster Boys' might just resurrect Bobby Deol’s dormant career, as a comic actor this time.

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