Three’s a Crowd

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TEEN THAY BHAI. Director: Mrigdeep Singh Lamba. Players: Om Puri, Shreyas Talpade, Deepak Dobriyal. Music: Ranjit Barot, Sukhwinder Singh. Theatrical release: PVR Pictures.

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There was a time when the inclusion of certain actors in a movie spelt class. Sadly, that doesn’t hold true any longer. Debutant director Lamba manages the seemingly impossible task of making a hash of a movie with three superlative actors.

The plotline is simple; three estranged brothers—Chixy, Happy, and Fancy (Puri, Talpade and Dobriyal)—who are perpetually at loggerheads are left a substantial inheritance by their grandfather with one condition: every year, for three years, the three must spend a peaceful day together at a desolate mountain. If they can do it without squabbling, the ancestral fortune is theirs for keeps.

One would think that this setup is ripe for situational humor. Unfortunately, the director makes the mistake of trying too hard. Leaving no stone unturned in his effort to make the audience laugh, he adds slapstick, a loud Ramleela, chest-waxing, clichéd one-liners, sadistic violence, drug-induced tomfoolery, crudity. But nothing can salvage the film, which appears to lose track almost as soon it begins.

The Punjabi stereotypes of the brothers are designed to evoke laughter; they raise a mild chuckle or two. The film focuses on the third and last year of the conditional inheritance, when the fraying bonds between the brothers threaten to break completely, jeopardizing their chances. Adding to the mix is a stranger who appears from nowhere around their snowed-out surroundings, mysterious hippies, and assorted foreign girls. The whole mish-mash careens out of control, but at this point the audience has stopped caring why.

The actors, true to their reputations, gamely give their all. Puri’s irritable brother and Talpade’s aspiring actor are both well-etched, but the scene stealer is a very natural Dobriyal, who resists the others’ tendency to ham. All the wonderful talent lays completely wasted at the altar of a lazy script.

EQ : Too bad to be rated.

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